Correlation and prediction uncertainties in the CyberKnife Synchrony respiratory tracking system

Eric W. Pepin, Huanmei Wu, Yuenian Zhang, Bryce Lord

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Purpose: The CyberKnife uses an online prediction model to improve radiation delivery when treating lung tumors. This study evaluates the prediction model used by the CyberKnife radiation therapy system in terms of treatment margins about the gross tumor volume (GTV). Methods: From the data log files produced by the CyberKnife synchrony model, the uncertainty in radiation delivery can be calculated. Modeler points indicate the tracked position of the tumor and Predictor points predict the position about 115 ms in the future. The discrepancy between Predictor points and their corresponding Modeler points was analyzed for 100 treatment model data sets from 23 de-identified lung patients. The treatment margins were determined in each anatomic direction to cover an arbitrary volume of the GTV, derived from the Modeler points, when the radiation is targeted at the Predictor points. Each treatment model had about 30 min of motion data, of which about 10 min constituted treatment time; only these 10 min were used in the analysis. The frequencies of margin sizes were analyzed and truncated Gaussian normal functions were fit to each direction's distribution. The standard deviation of each Gaussian distribution was then used to describe the necessary margin expansions in each signed dimension in order to achieve the desired coverage. In this study, 95% modeler point coverage was compared to 99% modeler coverage. Two other error sources were investigated: the correlation error and the targeting error. These were added to the prediction error to give an aggregate error for the CyberKnife during treatment of lung tumors. Results: Considering the magnitude of 2σ from the mean of the Gaussian in each signed dimension, the margin expansions needed for 95% modeler point coverage were 1.2 mm in the lateral (LAT) direction and 1.7 mm in the anterior-posterior (AP) direction. For the superior-inferior (SI) direction, the fit was poor; but empirically, the expansions were 3.5 mm. For 99% modeler point coverage, the AP margin was 3.6 mm and the lateral margin was 2.9 mm. The SI margins for 99% modeler point coverage were highly variable. The aggregate error at 95% was 6.9 mm in the SI direction, 4.6 mm in the AP direction, and 3.5 in the lateral direction. Conclusions: The Predictor points follow the Modeler points closely. Margins were found in each clinical direction that would provide 95% modeler point coverage for 95% of the models reviewed in this study. Similar margins were found in two clinical directions for 99% modeler point coverage in 95% of models. These results can offer guidance in the selection of CTV margins for treatment with the CyberKnife.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4036-4044
Number of pages9
JournalMedical physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • CyberKnife
  • lung cancer
  • prediction model
  • respiratory motion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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