An experimental investigation on intra-fractional organ motion effects in lung IMRT treatments

Steve B. Jiang, Cynthia Pope, Khaled M. Al Jarrah, Jong H. Kung, Thomas Bortfeld, George T Y Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

251 Scopus citations


Respiration-induced tumour motion can potentially compromise the use of intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) as a dose escalation tool for lung tumour treatment. We have experimentally investigated the intra-fractional organ motion effects in lung IMRT treatments delivered by multi-leaf collimator (MLC.) An in-house made motor-driven platform, which moves sinusoidally with an amplitude of 1 cm and a period of 4 s, was used to mimic tumour motion. Tumour motion was simulated along cranial-caudal direction while MLC leaves moved across the patient from left to right, as in most clinical cases. The dose to a point near the centre of the tumour mass was measured according to geometric and dosimetric parameters from two five-field lung IMRT plans. For each field, measurement was done for two dose rates (300 and 500 MU min-1), three MLC delivery modes (sliding window, step-and-shoot with 10 and 20 intensity levels) and eight equally spaced starting phases of tumour motion. The dose to the measurement point delivered from all five fields was derived for both a single fraction and 30 fractions by randomly sampling from measured dose values of each field at different initial phases. It was found that the mean dose to a moving tumour differs slightly (<2-3%) from that to a static tumour. The variation in breathing phase at the start of dose delivery results in a maximum variation around the mean dose of greater than 30% for one field. The full width at half maximum for the probability distribution of the point dose is up to 8% for all five fields in a single fraction, but less than 1-2% after 30 fractions. In general, lower dose rate can reduce the motion-caused dose variation and therefore might be preferable for lung IMRT when no motion mitigation techniques are used. From the two IMRT cases we studied where tumour motion is perpendicular to MLC leaf motion, the dose variation was found to be insensitive to the MLC delivery mode.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1773-1784
Number of pages12
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 21 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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