Purpose: Respiratory-gated radiotherapy allows for the reduction of the toxicity associated with concomitant chemoradiotherapy, but the smaller fields used could increase the risk of missing the target. A prospective study was performed to evaluate the dosimetric consequences of time-trend changes in patients with lung cancer who were treated with concomitant chemoradiotherapy.
Methods and materials: A total of 24 lung cancer patients eligible for chemoradiotherapy and gated delivery underwent four-dimensional computed tomography (4D-CT) after 15 fractions. This scan was co-registered with the initial planning 4D-CT and a new planning target volume (PTV) was generated on the basis of the tumor visualized after 15 fractions. Coverage of the repeat PTV was evaluated by applying the original plan to the second scan and recalculating the dose. Plan modification was triggered by a 5% reduction in the PTV included within the 95% isodose volume or an unacceptable increase in the critical organ dose.
Results: Of the 21 evaluable patients, 15 had an average reduction in the PTV of 8% after 30 Gy. The PTV increased in the remaining 6 patients, but the increase was >20% in only 1 patient. In the latter patient, disease progression was observed, and repeat planning was required. The plans created using the new PTV were acceptable in all the other patients.
Conclusion: The role of adaptive radiotherapy appears limited when respiratory-gated radiotherapy is used to reduce the toxicity related to concomitant chemoradiotherapy. The use of more conformal treatment techniques might provide the rationale for repeat imaging as a method to identify patients at risk of dosimetric miss.