Quality and Safety Considerations in Image Guided Radiation Therapy: An ASTRO Safety White Paper Update

X. Sharon Qi, Kevin Albuquerque, Stephanie Bailey, Samantha Dawes, Rojano Kashani, Heng Li, Raymond H. Mak, Arno J. Mundt, Terence T. Sio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This updated report on image guided radiation therapy (IGRT) is part of a series of consensus-based white papers previously published by the American Society for Radiation Oncology addressing patient safety. Since the first white papers were published, IGRT technology and procedures have progressed significantly such that these procedures are now more commonly used. The use of IGRT has now extended beyond high-precision treatments, such as stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotactic body radiation therapy, and into routine clinical practice for many treatment techniques and anatomic sites. Therefore, quality and patient safety considerations for these techniques remain an important area of focus. Methods and Materials: The American Society for Radiation Oncology convened an interdisciplinary task force to assess the original IGRT white paper and update content where appropriate. Recommendations were created using a consensus-building methodology, and task force members indicated their level of agreement based on a 5-point Likert scale from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.” A prespecified threshold of ≥75% of raters who selected “strongly agree” or “agree” indicated consensus. This IGRT white paper builds on the previous version and uses other guidance documents to primarily focus on processes related to quality and safety. IGRT requires an interdisciplinary team-based approach, staffed by appropriately trained specialists, as well as significant personnel resources, specialized technology, and implementation time. A thorough feasibility analysis of resources is required to achieve the clinical and technical goals and should be discussed with all personnel before undertaking new imaging techniques. A comprehensive quality-assurance program must be developed, using established guidance, to ensure IGRT is performed in a safe and effective manner. As IGRT technologies continue to improve or emerge, existing practice guidelines should be reviewed or updated regularly according to the latest American Association of Physicists in Medicine Task Group reports or guidelines. Patient safety in the application of IGRT is everyone's responsibility, and professional organizations, regulators, vendors, and end-users must demonstrate a clear commitment to working together to ensure the highest levels of safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-111
Number of pages15
JournalPractical Radiation Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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