Planning Study Comparison of Real-Time Target Tracking and Four-Dimensional Inverse Planning for Managing Patient Respiratory Motion

Peng Zhang, Geoffrey D. Hugo, Di Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Purpose: Real-time target tracking (RT-TT) and four-dimensional inverse planning (4D-IP) are two potential methods to manage respiratory target motion. In this study, we evaluated each method using the cumulative dose-volume criteria in lung cancer radiotherapy. Methods and Materials: Respiration-correlated computed tomography scans were acquired for 4 patients. Deformable image registration was applied to generate a displacement mapping for each phase image of the respiration-correlated computed tomography images. First, the dose distribution for the organs of interest obtained from an idealized RT-TT technique was evaluated, assuming perfect knowledge of organ motion and beam tracking. Inverse planning was performed on each phase image separately. The treatment dose to the organs of interest was then accumulated from the optimized plans. Second, 4D-IP was performed using the probability density function of respiratory motion. The beam arrangement, prescription dose, and objectives were consistent in both planning methods. The dose-volume and equivalent uniform dose in the target volume, lung, heart, and spinal cord were used for the evaluation. Results: The cumulative dose in the target was similar for both techniques. The equivalent uniform dose of the lung, heart, and spinal cord was 4.6 ± 2.2, 11 ± 4.4, and 11 ± 6.6 Gy for RT-TT with a 0-mm target margin, 5.2 ± 3.1, 12 ± 5.9, and 12 ± 7.8 Gy for RT-TT with a 2-mm target margin, and 5.3 ± 2.3, 11.9 ± 5.0, and 12 ± 5.6 Gy for 4D-IP, respectively. Conclusion: The results of our study have shown that 4D-IP can achieve plans similar to those achieved by RT-TT. Considering clinical implementation, 4D-IP could be a more reliable and practical method to manage patient respiration-induced motion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1221-1227
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 15 2008


  • Four-dimensional inverse planning
  • Lung cancer radiotherapy
  • Real-time target tracking
  • Respiration-induced organ motion


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