Assessing respiration-induced tumor motion and internal target volume using four-dimensional computed tomography for radiotherapy of lung cancer

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007 Jun 1;68(2):531-40. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2006.12.066. Epub 2007 Mar 29.


Purpose: To assess three-dimensional tumor motion caused by respiration and internal target volume (ITV) for radiotherapy of lung cancer.

Methods and materials: Respiration-induced tumor motion was analyzed for 166 tumors from 152 lung cancer patients, 57.2% of whom had Stage III or IV non-small-cell lung cancer. All patients underwent four-dimensional computed tomography (4DCT) during normal breathing before treatment. The expiratory phase of 4DCT images was used as the reference set to delineate gross tumor volume (GTV). Gross tumor volumes on other respiratory phases and resulting ITVs were determined using rigid-body registration of 4DCT images. The association of GTV motion with various clinical and anatomic factors was analyzed statistically.

Results: The proportions of tumors that moved >0.5 cm along the superior-inferior (SI), lateral, and anterior-posterior (AP) axes during normal breathing were 39.2%, 1.8%, and 5.4%, respectively. For 95% of the tumors, the magnitude of motion was less than 1.34 cm, 0.40 cm, and 0.59 cm along the SI, lateral, and AP directions. The principal component of tumor motion was in the SI direction, with only 10.8% of tumors moving >1.0 cm. The tumor motion was found to be associated with diaphragm motion, the SI tumor location in the lung, size of the GTV, and disease T stage.

Conclusions: Lung tumor motion is primarily driven by diaphragm motion. The motion of locally advanced lung tumors is unlikely to exceed 1.0 cm during quiet normal breathing except for small lesions located in the lower half of the lung.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Exhalation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Male
  • Movement*
  • Respiration*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*
  • Tumor Burden