A methodology for using SPECT to reduce intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) dose to functioning lung

Sarah M. McGuire, Sumin Zhou, Lawrence B. Marks, Mark Dewhirst, Fang Fang Yin, Shiva K. Das

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Purpose: Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) provides a map of the spatial distribution of lung perfusion. Thus, SPECT guidance can be used to divert dose away from higher-functioning lung, potentially reducing lung toxicity. We present a methodology for achieving this aim and test it in intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) treatment-planning. Methods and Materials: IMRT treatment plans were generated with and without SPECT guidance and compared for 5 patients. Healthy lung was segmented into four regions on the basis of SPECT intensity in the SPECT plan. Dose was sequentially allowed to the target via regions of increasing SPECT intensity. This process results in reduction of dose to functional lung, reflected in the dose-function histogram (DFH). The plans were compared using DFHs and F20/F30 values (Fx is the functional lung receiving dose above x Gy). Results: In all cases, the SPECT-guided plan produced a more favorable DFH compared with the non-SPECT-guided plan. Additionally, the F20 and F30 values were reduced for all patients by an average of 13.6% ± 5.2% and 10.5% ± 5.8%, respectively. In all patients, DFHs of the two highest-functioning SPECT regions were reduced, whereas DFHs of the two lower-functioning regions were increased, illustrating the dose "give-take" between SPECT regions during redistribution. Conclusions: SPECT-guided IMRT shows potential for reducing the dose delivered to highly functional lung regions. This dose reduction could reduce the number of high-grade pneumonitis cases that develop after radiation treatment and improve patient quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1543-1552
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006


  • IMRT
  • Lung
  • Optimization
  • Radiation therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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