Objective assessment of the effects of tumor motion in radiation therapy

Yijun Ding, Harrison H. Barrett, Matthew A. Kupinski, Yevgeniy Vinogradskiy, Moyed Miften, Bernard L. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: Internal organ motion reduces the accuracy and efficacy of radiation therapy. However, there is a lack of tools to objectively (based on a medical or scientific task) assess the dosimetric consequences of motion, especially on an individual basis. We propose to use therapy operating characteristic (TOC) analysis to quantify the effects of motion on treatment efficacy for individual patients. We demonstrate the application of this tool with pancreatic stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) clinical data and explore the origin of motion sensitivity. Methods: The technique is described as follows. (a) Use tumor-motion data measured from patients to calculate the motion-convolved dose of the gross tumor volume (GTV) and the organs at risk (OARs). (b) Calculate tumor control probability (TCP) and normal tissue complication probability (NTCP) from the motion-convolved dose–volume histograms. (c) Construct TOC curves from TCP and NTCP models. (d) Calculate the area under the TOC curve (AUTOC) and use it as a figure of merit for treatment efficacy. We used tumor motion data measured from patients to calculate the relation between AUTOC and motion magnitude for 25 pancreatic SBRT treatment plans. Furthermore, to explore the driving factor of motion sensitivity of a given plan, we compared the dose distribution of motion-sensitive plans and motion-robust plans and studied the dependence of motion sensitivity to motion directions. Results: Our technique is able to recognize treatment plans that are sensitive to motion. Under the presence of motion, the treatment efficacy of some plans changes from providing high tumor control and low risks of complications to providing no tumor control and high risks of side effects. Several treatment plans experience falloffs in AUTOC at a smaller magnitude of motion than other plans. In our dataset, a potential indicator of a motion-sensitive treatment plan is that the duodenum is in proximity to the tumor in the SI direction. Conclusions: The TOC framework can serve as a tool to quantify the effects of internal organ motion in radiation therapy. With pancreatic SBRT clinical data, we applied this tool to study the change in treatment efficacy induced by motion for individual treatment plans. This framework could potentially be used clinically to understand the effects of motion in an individual patient and to design a patient-specific motion management plan. This framework could also be used in research to evaluate different components of the treatment process, such as motion-management techniques, treatment-planning algorithms, and treatment margins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3311-3323
Number of pages13
JournalMedical physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2019


  • NTCP
  • TCP
  • TOC
  • treatment efficacy
  • tumor motion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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