Planning 4-dimensional computed tomography (4DCT) cannot adequately represent daily intrafractional motion of abdominal tumors

Jiajia Ge, Lakshmi Santanam, Camille Noel, Parag J. Parikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate whether planning 4-dimensional computed tomography (4DCT) can adequately represent daily motion of abdominal tumors in regularly fractionated and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) patients. Methods and Materials: Intrafractional tumor motion of 10 patients with abdominal tumors (4 pancreas-fractionated and 6 liver-stereotactic patients) with implanted fiducials was measured based on daily orthogonal fluoroscopic movies over 38 treatment fractions. The needed internal margin for at least 90% of tumor coverage was calculated based on a 95th and fifth percentile of daily 3-dimensional tumor motion. The planning internal margin was generated by fusing 4DCT motion from all phase bins. The disagreement between needed and planning internal margin was analyzed fraction by fraction in 3 motion axes (superior-inferior [SI], anterior-posterior [AP], and left-right [LR]). The 4DCT margin was considered as an overestimation/underestimation of daily motion when disagreement exceeded at least 3 mm in the SI axis and/or 1.2 mm in the AP and LR axes (4DCT image resolution). The underlying reasons for this disagreement were evaluated based on interfractional and intrafractional breathing variation. Results: The 4DCT overestimated daily 3-dimensional motion in 39% of the fractions in 7 of 10 patients and underestimated it in 53% of the fractions in 8 of 10 patients. Median underestimation was 3.9 mm, 3.0 mm, and 1.7 mm in the SI axis, AP axis, and LR axis, respectively. The 4DCT was found to capture irregular deep breaths in 3 of 10 patients, with 4DCT motion larger than mean daily amplitude by 18 to 21 mm. The breathing pattern varied from breath to breath and day to day. The intrafractional variation of amplitude was significantly larger than intrafractional variation (2.7 mm vs 1.3 mm) in the primary motion axis (ie, SI axis). The SBRT patients showed significantly larger intrafractional amplitude variation than fractionated patients (3.0 mm vs 2.1 mm, P<.05). Conclusions: It may not be appropriate to use 4DCT without monitoring of patient motion on a regular basis for patients with abdominal tumors, especially SBRT patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)999-1005
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 15 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Planning 4-dimensional computed tomography (4DCT) cannot adequately represent daily intrafractional motion of abdominal tumors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this