A study of the beam-specific interplay effect in proton pencil beam scanning delivery in lung cancer

Minglei Kang, Sheng Huang, Timothy D. Solberg, Rulon Mayer, Andy Thomas, Boon Keng Kevin Teo, James E. McDonough, Charles B. Simone, Liyong Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Background: For lung tumors with large motion amplitudes, the use of proton pencil beam scanning (PBS) can produce large dose errors. In this study, we assess under what circumstances PBS can be used to treat lung cancer patients who exhibit large tumor motion, based on the quantification of tumor motion and the dose interplay. Material and methods: PBS plans were optimized on average 4DCT datasets using a beam-specific PTV method for 10 consecutive patients with locally advanced non-small-cell-lung-cancer (NSCLC) treated with proton therapy to 6660/180 cGy. End inhalation (CT0) and end exhalation (CT50) were selected as the two extreme scenarios to acquire the relative stopping power ratio difference (Δrsp) for a respiration cycle. The water equivalent difference (ΔWET) per radiological path was calculated from the surface of patient to the iCTV by integrating the Δrsp of each voxel. The magnitude of motion of voxels within the target follows a quasi-Gaussian distribution. A motion index (MI (>5mm WET)), defined as the percentage of target voxels with an absolute integral ΔWET larger than 5 mm, was adopted as a metric to characterize interplay. To simulate the treatment process, 4D dose was calculated by accumulating the spot dose on the corresponding respiration phase to the reference phase CT50 by deformable image registration based on spot timing and patient breathing phase. Results: The study indicated that the magnitude of target underdose in a single fraction plan is proportional to the MI (p <.001), with larger motion equating to greater dose degradation and standard deviations. The target homogeneity, minimum, maximum and mean dose in the 4D dose accumulations of 37 fractions varied as a function of MI. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that MI can predict the level of dose degradation, which potentially serves as a clinical decision tool to assess whether lung cancer patients are potentially suitable to receive PBS treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-540
Number of pages10
JournalActa Oncologica
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 3 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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