Background: The principle aim of this study is to incorporate 4DCT ventilation imaging into functional treatment planning that preserves high-functioning lung with both double scattering and scanning beam techniques in proton therapy.
Methods: Eight patients with locally advanced non-small-cell lung cancer were included in this study. Deformable image registration was performed for each patient on their planning 4DCTs and the resultant displacement vector field with Jacobian analysis was used to identify the high-, medium- and low-functional lung regions. Five plans were designed for each patient: a regular photon IMRT vs. anatomic proton plans without consideration of functional ventilation information using double scattering proton therapy (DSPT) and intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT) vs. functional proton plans with avoidance of high-functional lung using both DSPT and IMPT. Dosimetric parameters were compared in terms of tumor coverage, plan heterogeneity, and avoidance of normal tissues.
Results: Our results showed that both DSPT and IMPT plans gave superior dose advantage to photon IMRTs in sparing low dose regions of the total lung in terms of V5 (volume receiving 5Gy). The functional DSPT only showed marginal benefit in sparing high-functioning lung in terms of V5 or V20 (volume receiving 20Gy) compared to anatomical plans. Yet, the functional planning in IMPT delivery, can further reduce the low dose in high-functioning lung without degrading the PTV dosimetric coverages, compared to anatomical proton planning. Although the doses to some critical organs might increase during functional planning, the necessary constraints were all met.
Conclusions: Incorporating 4DCT ventilation imaging into functional proton therapy is feasible. The functional proton plans, in intensity modulated proton delivery, are effective to further preserve high-functioning lung regions without degrading the PTV coverage.
Keywords: 4D-CT ventilation imaging; Functional imaging guided proton therapy.