Ultrasound-guided extracranial radiosurgery: technique and application

Sanford L Meeks, John M Buatti, Lionel G Bouchet, Francis J Bova, Timothy C Ryken, Edward C Pennington, Kathleen M Anderson, William A Friedman
International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 2003 March 15, 55 (4): 1092-101

PURPOSE: Stereotactic radiosurgery is an effective treatment modality for many intracranial lesions, but target mobility limits its utility for extracranial applications. We have developed a new technique for extracranial radiosurgery based on optically guided three-dimensional ultrasound (3DUS). The 3DUS system provides the ability to image the target volume and critical structures in real time and determine any misregistration of the target volume with the linear accelerator. In this paper, we describe the system and its initial clinical application in the treatment of localized metastatic disease.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: The extracranial stereotactic system consists of an ultrasound unit that is optically tracked and registered with the linear accelerator coordinate system. After an initial patient positioning based on computed tomographic (CT) simulation, stereotactic ultrasound images are acquired and correlated with the CT-based treatment plan to determine any soft-tissue shifts between the time of the planning CT and the actual treatment. Optical tracking is used to correct any patient offsets that are revealed by the real-time imaging.

RESULTS: Preclinical testing revealed that the ultrasound-based stereotactic navigation system is accurate to within 1.5 mm in comparison with an absolute coordinate phantom. Between March 2001 and March 2002, the system was used to deliver extracranial radiosurgery to 17 metastatic lesions in 16 patients. Treatments were delivered in 1 or 2 fractions, with an average fractional dose of 16 Gy (range 12.5-24 Gy) delivered to the 80% isodose surface. Before each fraction, the target misalignment from isocenter was determined using the 3DUS system and the misalignments averaged over all patients were anteroposterior = 4.8 mm, lateral = 3.6 mm, axial = 2.1 mm, and average total 3D displacement = 7.4 mm (range = 0-21.0 mm). After correcting patient misalignment, each plan was delivered as planned using 6-11 noncoplanar fields. No acute complications were reported.

CONCLUSIONS: A system for high-precision radiosurgical treatment of metastatic tumors has been developed, tested, and applied clinically. Optical tracking of the ultrasound probe provides real-time tracking of the patient anatomy and allows computation of the target displacement before treatment delivery. The patient treatments reported here suggest the feasibility and safety of the technique.

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