Evaluation of mega-voltage CT images for completed radiotherapy treatments for dogs and cats reveals uncommon but potentially consequential dose deviation in thoracic and abdominal tumors

Vet Radiol Ultrasound. 2023 Jan;64(1):149-154. doi: 10.1111/vru.13176. Epub 2022 Nov 14.


As advanced delivery techniques such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) become conventional in veterinary radiotherapy, highly modulated radiation delivery helps to decrease dose to normal tissues. However, IMRT is only effective if patient setup and anatomy are accurately replicated for each treatment. Numerous techniques have been implemented to decrease patient setup error, however tumor shrinkage, variations in the patient's contour and weight loss continue to be hard to control and can result in clinically relevant dose deviation in radiotherapy plans. Adaptive radiotherapy (ART) is often the most effective means to account for gradual changes such as tumor shrinkage and weight loss, however it is often unclear when adaption is necessary. The goal of this retrospective, observational study was to review dose delivery in dogs and cats who received helical radiotherapy at University of Wisconsin, using detector dose data (D2%, D50%, D98%) and daily megavoltage computed tomography (MVCT) images, and to determine whether ART should be considered more frequently than it currently is. A total of 52 treatment plans were evaluated and included cancers of the head and neck, thorax, and abdomen. After evaluation, 6% of the radiotherapy plan delivered had clinically relevant dose deviations in dose delivery. Dose deviations were more common in thoracic and abdominal targets. While adaptation may have been considered in these cases, the decision to adapt can be complex and all factors, such as treatment delay, cost, and imaging modality, must be considered when adaptation is to be pursued.

Keywords: IMRT; adaptive; veterinary.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Observational Study, Veterinary

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Abdominal Neoplasms* / radiotherapy
  • Abdominal Neoplasms* / veterinary
  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cat Diseases* / radiotherapy
  • Cats
  • Cone-Beam Computed Tomography
  • Dog Diseases* / diagnostic imaging
  • Dog Diseases* / radiotherapy
  • Dogs
  • Radiotherapy Dosage / veterinary
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted / veterinary
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated* / methods
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated* / veterinary
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Weight Loss