Intra- and inter-fraction uncertainties during IGRT for Wilms’ tumor

Background and purpose: To assess intra- and inter-fraction motion uncertainties, due to displacements of the tumor bed (TB) and organs at risk (OAR), as well as intra- and inter-fraction patient set-up uncertainties, due to positioning variations, during image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) in children with Wilms’ tumor.

Material and methods: Four-dimensional computed tomography (4D-CT) and daily pre- and post-treatment cone-beam CT (CBCT)-scans of 15 patients (average 4, range 1–8 years) undergoing flank irradiation after nephrectomy were analyzed. TB (marked by four surgical clips) and OAR motion uncertainties were quantified by displacements of the center of mass in all orthogonal directions. Translational and rotational bone off-sets were recorded for patient set-up uncertainties assessment in all orthogonal directions. The average results, systematic and random errors were computed.

Results: Average intra- and inter-fraction motion uncertainties were ≤1.1 mm (range: [−6.9;7.9] mm) for the TB and ≤3.2 mm (range: [−9.1;9.6] mm) for the OAR. Average intra- and inter-fraction patient set-up uncertainties were ≤0.1 mm (range: [−3.3;4.8] mm) and ≤0.9° (range: [0.0;2.8°]). Both motion and patient set-up uncertainties were larger for the cranio-caudal direction. Calculated systematic and random errors were ≤2.4 mm for the motion uncertainties and ≤0.8 mm/0.7° for the patient set-up uncertainties.

Conclusions: Average motion and patient set-up uncertainties during radiotherapy treatment were found to be limited. However, uncertainties were larger for the cranio-caudal direction and outliers were found in all orthogonal directions. When having available 4D-CT and CBCT information, the use of patient-specific and anisotropic safety margin expansions is advised for both target volume and OAR.