Please Place Your Seat in the Full Upright Position: A Technical Framework for Landing Upright Radiation Therapy in the 21st Century

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Frontiers in Oncology


Delivering radiotherapy to patients in an upright position can allow for increased patient comfort, reduction in normal tissue irradiation, or reduction of machine size and complexity. This paper gives an overview of the requirements for the delivery of contemporary arc and modulated radiation therapy to upright patients. We explore i) patient positioning and immobilization, ii) simulation imaging, iii) treatment planning and iv) online setup and image guidance. Treatment chairs have been designed to reproducibly position seated patients for treatment and can be augmented by several existing immobilisation systems or promising emerging technologies such as soft robotics. There are few solutions for acquiring CT images for upright patients, however, cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) scans of upright patients can be produced using the imaging capabilities of standard Linacs combined with an additional patient rotation device. While these images will require corrections to make them appropriate for treatment planning, several methods indicate the viability of this approach. Treatment planning is largely unchanged apart from translating gantry rotation to patient rotation, allowing for a fixed beam with a patient rotating relative to it. Rotation can be provided by a turntable during treatment delivery. Imaging the patient with the same machinery as used in treatment could be advantageous for online plan adaption. While the current focus is using clinical linacs in existing facilities, developments in this area could also extend to lower-cost and mobile linacs and heavy ion therapy.

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