Evaluation of margins in pelvic lymph nodes and prostate radiotherapy and the impact of bladder and rectum on prostate position

Cancer Radiother. 2021 Apr;25(2):161-168. doi: 10.1016/j.canrad.2020.06.033. Epub 2021 Jan 14.


Purpose: The aims of this study were: determination of the CTV to PTV margins for prostate and pelvic lymph nodes. Investigation of the impact of registration modality (pelvic bones or prostate) on the CTV to PTV margins of pelvic lymph nodes. Investigation of the variations of bladder and rectum over the treatment course. Investigation of the impact of bladder and rectum variations on prostate position.

Patients and methods: This study included 15 patients treated for prostate adenocarcinoma. Daily kilo voltage images and weekly CBCT scans were performed to assess prostate displacements and common and external iliac vessels motion. These data was used to calculate the CTV to PTV margins using Van Herk equation in the setting of a daily bone registration. We also compared the CTV to PTV margins of pelvic lymph nodes according to registration method; based on pelvic bone or prostate. We delineated bladder and rectum on all CBCT scans to assess their variations over treatment course at 4 anatomic levels [1.5cm above pubic bone (PB), superior edge, mid- and inferior edge of PB].

Results: Using Van Herk equation, the prostate CTV to PTV margins (bone registration) were 8.03mm, 5.42mm and 8.73mm in AP, ML and SI direction with more than 97% of prostate displacements were less than 5mm. The CTV to PTV margins ranged from 3.12mm to 3.25mm for external iliac vessels and from 3.12mm to 4.18mm for common iliac vessels. Compared to registration based on prostate alignment, bone registration resulted in an important reduction of the CTV to PTV margins up to 54.3% for external iliac vessels and up to 39.6% for common iliac vessels. There was no significant variation of the mean bladder volume over the treatment course. There was a significant variation of the mean rectal volume before and after the third week of treatment. After the third week, the mean rectal volume seemed to be stable. The uni- and multivariate analysis identified the anterior wall of rectum as independent factor acting on prostate motion in AP direction at 2 levels (superior edge of, mid PB). The right rectal wall influenced the prostate motion in ML direction at inferior edge of PB. The bladder volume tends toward significance as factor acting on prostate motion in AP direction.

Conclusions: We recommend CTV to PTV margins of 8mm, 6mm and 9mm in AP, ML and SI directions for prostate. And, we suggest 4mm and 5mm for external and common iliac vessels respectively. We also prefer registration based on bony landmarks to minimize bowel irradiation. More CBCT scans should be performed during the first 3weeks and especially the first week to check rectum volume.

Keywords: Bladder; Planning target volume; Prostate; Prostate motion; Rectum; Setup errors; Vessie; Volume cible prévisionnel ou de planification.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / radiotherapy*
  • Algorithms
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Androgen Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Iliac Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Iliac Vein / diagnostic imaging
  • Lymph Nodes / anatomy & histology
  • Lymph Nodes / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lymphatic Irradiation / methods
  • Male
  • Organ Motion
  • Organs at Risk / anatomy & histology
  • Organs at Risk / diagnostic imaging
  • Pelvic Bones / anatomy & histology
  • Pelvic Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Pelvis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostate / anatomy & histology
  • Prostate / diagnostic imaging*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Radiotherapy Setup Errors
  • Radiotherapy, Conformal
  • Radiotherapy, Image-Guided
  • Rectum / anatomy & histology
  • Rectum / diagnostic imaging*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Tumor Burden
  • Urinary Bladder / anatomy & histology
  • Urinary Bladder / diagnostic imaging*


  • Androgen Antagonists