The use of spatial dose gradients and probability density function to evaluate the effect of internal organ motion for prostate IMRT treatment planning

Runqing Jiang, Rob B Barnett, James C L Chow, Jeff Z Y Chen
Physics in Medicine and Biology 2007 March 7, 52 (5): 1469-84
The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of internal organ motion on IMRT treatment planning of prostate patients using a spatial dose gradient and probability density function. Spatial dose distributions were generated from a Pinnacle3 planning system using a co-planar, five-field intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) technique. Five plans were created for each patient using equally spaced beams but shifting the angular displacement of the beam by 15 degree increments. Dose profiles taken through the isocentre in anterior-posterior (A-P), right-left (R-L) and superior-inferior (S-I) directions for IMRT plans were analysed by exporting RTOG file data from Pinnacle. The convolution of the 'static' dose distribution D0(x, y, z) and probability density function (PDF), denoted as P(x, y, z), was used to analyse the combined effect of repositioning error and internal organ motion. Organ motion leads to an enlarged beam penumbra. The amount of percentage mean dose deviation (PMDD) depends on the dose gradient and organ motion probability density function. Organ motion dose sensitivity was defined by the rate of change in PMDD with standard deviation of motion PDF and was found to increase with the maximum dose gradient in anterior, posterior, left and right directions. Due to common inferior and superior field borders of the field segments, the sharpest dose gradient will occur in the inferior or both superior and inferior penumbrae. Thus, prostate motion in the S-I direction produces the highest dose difference. The PMDD is within 2.5% when standard deviation is less than 5 mm, but the PMDD is over 2.5% in the inferior direction when standard deviation is higher than 5 mm in the inferior direction. Verification of prostate organ motion in the inferior directions is essential. The margin of the planning target volume (PTV) significantly impacts on the confidence of tumour control probability (TCP) and level of normal tissue complication probability (NTCP). Smaller margins help to reduce the dose to normal tissues, but may compromise the dose coverage of the PTV. Lower rectal NTCP can be achieved by either a smaller margin or a steeper dose gradient between PTV and rectum. With the same DVH control points, the rectum has lower complication in the seven-beam technique used in this study because of the steeper dose gradient between the target volume and rectum. The relationship between dose gradient and rectal complication can be used to evaluate IMRT treatment planning. The dose gradient analysis is a powerful tool to improve IMRT treatment plans and can be used for QA checking of treatment plans for prostate patients.

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