Investigation of in vivo source tracking error thresholds for interstitial and intra-cavitary high-dose-rate cervical brachytherapy

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Journal of Contemporary Brachytherapy


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine a comprehensive in vivo source tracking error thresholds in high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy for cervical cancer. Achieving this enables the definition of an action level for imminent in vivo source tracking technologies and treatment monitoring devices, preventing clinically relevant changes to the applied dose. Material and methods: Retrospective HDR interstitial (n = 10) and intra-cavitary (n = 20) cervical brachytherapy patients were randomly selected to determine the feasibility of implementing in vivo source tracking error thresholds. A script was developed to displace all dwell positions in each treatment plan, along all major axes from their original position. Dose-volume histogram (DVH) indices were calculated without re-optimization of modified plans to determine the appropriate in vivo source tracking error thresholds in each direction. Results: In vivo source tracking error thresholds were directionally dependent; the smallest were found to be 2 mm in the anterior and posterior directions for both interstitial and intra-cavitary treatments. High-risk clinical treatment volume (HR-CTV) coverage was significantly impacted by displacements of 4 to 5 mm along each axis. Critically, there was a large variation in DVH metrics with displacement due to change in dwell weightings and patient anatomy. Conclusions: Determining the dosimetric impact of dwell position displacement provides a clinical benchmark for the development of pre-treatment verification devices and an action level for real-time treatment monitoring. It was established that an in vivo source tracking error threshold needs to be patient-specific. In vivo source tracking error thresholds should be determined for each patient, and can be conducted with extension of the method established in this work.

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