Cine MRI-based analysis of intrafractional motion in radiation treatment planning of head and neck cancer patients

Radiother Oncol. 2023 Sep:186:109790. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2023.109790. Epub 2023 Jul 4.


Purpose/objective(s): To investigate intrafraction motion of (HN) target volumes and to determine patient-specific planning target volume (PTV) margins.

Materials/methods: MR-cine imaging was performed for radiation treatment planning in HN cancer patients treated with definitive EBRT (n = 62) or SBRT (n = 4) on a 1.5 T MRI between 2017-2019. Dynamic MRI scans (sagittal orientation, 2 × 82 × 7 mm3 resolution), ranging from 3-5 min and 900-1500 images, were acquired. The position of the maximum tumor displacement along each direction in the anterior/posterior (A/P) and superior/inferior (S/I) position was recorded and analyzed to determine average PTV margins.

Results: Primary tumor sites (n = 66) were oropharynx (n = 39), larynx (n = 24) and hypopharynx (n = 3). PTV margins for A/P/S/I positions were 4.1/4.4/5.0/6.2 mm and 4.9/4.3/6.7/7.7 mm for oropharyngeal and laryngeal/hypopharyngeal cancers when accounting for all motion. V100 for PTV was calculated and compared to the original plans. The mean drop in PTV coverage was in most cases under 5%. For a subset of patients with 3 mm plans available, V100 for PTV had more substantial decreases in coverage averaging 8.2% - and 14.3% for oropharyngeal and laryngeal/hypopharynx plans, respectively.

Conclusion: The use of MR-cine in treatment planning allows for quantification of tumor motion during swallow and resting periods and should be accounted for during treatment planning. With motion considered, the derived margins may exceed the commonly used 3-5 mm PTV margins. Quantification and analysis of tumor and patient-specific PTV margins is a step towards real-time MRI guidance adaptive radiotherapy.

Keywords: Head and neck cancer; MRI cine; Medical physics; PTV margins; Radiation oncology; Radiotherapy.

MeSH terms

  • Head and Neck Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms* / radiotherapy
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cine
  • Motion
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted / methods