Should we include SPECT lung perfusion in radiotherapy treatment plans of thoracic targets? Evidences from the literature

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2016 Jun;102:111-7. doi: 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2016.04.009. Epub 2016 Apr 20.


Purpose: To report the available data about the potential impact of integrating lung perfusion SPECT/CT in treatment plans optimization for the irradiation of thoracic targets.

Materials and methods: We searched in the PubMed and Scopus databases, English-written articles published from 2000 to June 2015 dealing with the integration of perfusion SPECT/CT in radiotherapy.

Results: We found and analyzed 16 research articles (10 dosimetric, 6 clinical) for a total of 578 patients. Available data suggest dosimetric and clinical improvements when perfusion SPEC/CT is integrated in the radiotherapy treatment planing of selected patients with thoracic targets. In particular, patients presenting emphysema and/or large areas of deficit of perfusion show the most important improvements. Moreover, some studies show different risk of radiation pneumonitis (RP) depending on the localization of the tumor in the lungs: patients with low-located tumors, present an increased risk of RP, and functional data could be a benefit in treatment plan optimization. Unfortunately, none of the available studies finally reports any dosimetric constraint, which could be used in the clinical practice, even if most of them used the cut-off of the 30% of the maximal perfusion value to define the well-functioning lung.

Conclusions: Published data support the integration of lung perfusion scintigraphy in some selected categories of patients. Prospective studies should be designed to define the best candidates, and to assess the clinical advantage of this kind of optimization.

Keywords: Dosimetry; Lung SPECT scintigraphy; Lung function; Radiotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Radiation Pneumonitis
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon*