Dose assessment for daily cone-beam CT in lung radiotherapy patients and its combination with treatment planning

Publication Name

Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine


With the increased use of X-ray imaging for patient alignment in external beam radiation therapy, particularly with cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT), the additional dose received by patients has become of greater consideration. In this study, we analysed the radiation dose from CBCT for clinical lung radiotherapy and assessed its relative contribution when combined with radiation treatment planning for a variety of lung radiotherapy techniques. The Monte Carlo simulation program ImpactMC was used to calculate the 3D dose delivered by a Varian TrueBeam linear accelerator to patients undergoing thorax CBCT imaging. The concomitant dose was calculated by simulating the daily CBCT irradiation of ten lung cancer patients. Each case was planned with a total dose of 50–60 Gy to the target lesion in 25–30 fractions using the 3DCRT or IMRT plan and retrospectively planned using VMAT. For each clinical case, the calculated CBCT dose was summed with the planned dose, and the dose to lungs, heart, and spinal cord were analysed according to conventional dose conformity metrics. Our results indicate greater variations in dose to the heart, lungs, and spinal cord based on planning technique, (3DCRT, IMRT, VMAT) than from the inclusion of daily cone-beam imaging doses over 25–30 fractions. The average doses from CBCT imaging per fraction to the lungs, heart and spinal cord were 0.52 ± 0.10, 0.49 ± 0.15 and 0.39 ± 0.08 cGy, respectively. Lung dose variations were related to the patient’s size and body composition. Over a treatment course, this may result in an additional mean absorbed dose of 0.15–0.2 Gy. For lung V5, the imaging dose resulted in an average increase of ~ 0.6% of the total volume receiving 5 Gy. The increase in V20 was more dependent on the planning technique, with 3DCRT increasing by 0.11 ± 0.09% with imaging and IMRT and VMAT increasing by 0.17 ± 0.05% and 0.2 ± 0.06%, respectively. In this study, we assessed the concomitant dose for daily CBCT lung cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy. The additional radiation dose to the normal lungs from daily CBCT was found to range from 0.15 to 0.2 Gy when the patient was treated with 25–30 fractions. Consideration of potential variation in relative biological effectiveness between kilovoltage imaging and megavoltage treatment dose was outside the scope of this study. Regardless of this, our results show that the assessment of imaging dose can be incorporated into the treatment planning process and the relative effect on overall dose distribution was small compared to the difference among planning techniques.

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