Purpose: The hypothesis is that 2-dimensional kV orthogonal imaging with fiducial markers (kV-FM) and soft-tissue cone beam computed tomography (ST-CBCT) are equally reproducible for daily positional alignments for image guided (IG) intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) for prostate cancer.
Methods and materials: Ten patients undergoing definitive treatment for prostate cancer with IG-IMRT were imaged daily with kV-FM and ST-CBCT. For each acquired kV and CBCT image, offline alignments to the digitally reconstructed radiograph or planning CT, respectively, were made twice by the same physician to assess intraobserver test-retest reproducibility. The 256 kV and 142 CBCT images were analyzed, and the test-retest analysis was performed again on a subset of images by another physician to verify the results.
Results: The results demonstrated that kV-FM had better intraobserver test-retest reproducibility in the anterior-posterior (AP; 95% confidence interval [CI] Pearson correlation coefficient [r], 0.987-0.991), left-right (LR; 95% CI r, 0.955-0.969), and superior-inferior (SI; 95% CI r, 0.971-0.980) directions for daily IG alignments compared with ST-CBCT (AP: 95% CI r, 0.804-0.877; LR: 95% CI r, 0.877-0.924; SI: 95% CI r, 0.791-0.869). Errors associated with intraobserver test-retest reproducibility were submillimeter with kV-FM (AP: 0.4 ± 0.7 mm; RL: 0.4 ± 1.0 mm; SI: 0.5 ± 0.7 mm) compared with ST-CBCT (AP: 2.1 ± 2.2 mm; LR: 1.3 ± 1.4 mm; SI: 1.2 ± 1.8 mm). The mean shift differences between kV-FM and ST-CBCT were 0.3 ± 3.8 mm for AP, -1.1 ± 8.5 mm for LR, and -2.0 ± 3.7 mm for SI. Dose-volume histograms were generated and showed that test-retest variability associated with ST-CBCT IG-alignments resulted in significantly increased dose to normal structures and a reduced planning target volume dose in many patients.
Conclusions: The kV-FM-based daily IG alignment for IMRT of prostate cancer is more precise than ST-CBCT, as assessed by a physician's ability to reproducibly align images. Given the magnitude of the error introduced by inconsistency in making ST-CBCT alignments, these data support a role for daily kV imaging of FM to enhance the precision of external beam dose delivery to the prostate.