Clinical implementation of target tracking by breathing synchronized delivery

Dinesh Tewatia, Tiezhi Zhang, Wolfgang Tome, Bhudatt Paliwal, Minesh Metha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Target-tracking techniques can be categorized based on the mechanism of the feedback loop. In real time tracking, breathing-delivery phase correlation is provided to the treatment delivery hardware. Clinical implementation of target tracking in real time requires major hardware modifications. In breathing synchronized delivery (BSD), the patient is guided to breathe in accordance with target motion derived from four-dimensional computed tomography (4D-CT). Violations of mechanical limitations of hardware are to be avoided at the treatment planning stage. Hardware modifications are not required. In this article, using sliding window IMRT delivery as an example, we have described step-by-step the implementation of target tracking by the BSD technique: (1) A breathing guide is developed from patient's normal breathing pattern. The patient tries to reproduce this guiding cycle by following the display in the goggles; (2) 4D-CT scans are acquired at all the phases of the breathing cycle; (3) The average tumor trajectory is obtained by deformable image registration of 4D-CT datasets and is smoothed by Fourier filtering; (4) Conventional IMRT planning is performed using the images at reference phase (full exhalation phase) and a leaf sequence based on optimized fluence map is generated; (5) Assuming the patient breathes with a reproducible breathing pattern and the machine maintains a constant dose rate, the treatment process is correlated with the breathing phase; (6) The instantaneous average tumor displacement is overlaid on the dMLC position at corresponding phase; and (7) DMLC leaf speed and acceleration are evaluated to ensure treatment delivery. A custom-built mobile phantom driven by a computer-controlled stepper motor was used in the dosimetry verification. A stepper motor was programmed such that the phantom moved according to the linear component of tumor motion used in BSD treatment planning. A conventional plan was delivered on the phantom with and without motion. The BSD plan was also delivered on the phantom that moved with the prescheduled pattern and synchronized with the delivery of each beam. Film dosimetry showed underdose and overdose in the superior and inferior regions of the target, respectively, if the tumor motion is not compensated during the delivery. BSD delivery resulted in a dose distribution very similar to the planned treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4330-4336
Number of pages7
JournalMedical physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2006


  • 4D radiotherapy
  • Breathing motion
  • Target tracking


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