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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2008 Jul 15;71(4):1118-23. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2007.11.061. Epub 2008 Feb 6.

Impact of audio-coaching on the position of lung tumors.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Respiration-induced organ motion is a major source of positional, or geometric, uncertainty in thoracic radiotherapy. Interventions to mitigate the impact of motion include audio-coached respiration-gated radiotherapy (RGRT). To assess the impact of coaching on average tumor position during gating, we analyzed four-dimensional computed tomography (4DCT) scans performed both with and without audio-coaching.


Our RGRT protocol requires that an audio-coached 4DCT scan is performed when the initial free-breathing 4DCT indicates a potential benefit with gating. We retrospectively analyzed 22 such paired scans in patients with well-circumscribed tumors. Changes in lung volume and position of internal target volumes (ITV) generated in three consecutive respiratory phases at both end-inspiration and end-expiration were analyzed.


Audio-coaching increased end-inspiration lung volumes by a mean of 10.2% (range, -13% to +43%) when compared with free breathing (p = 0.001). The mean three-dimensional displacement of the center of ITV was 3.6 mm (SD, 2.5; range, 0.3-9.6mm), mainly caused by displacement in the craniocaudal direction. Displacement of ITV caused by coaching was more than 5 mm in 5 patients, all of whom were in the subgroup of 9 patients showing total tumor motion of 10 mm or more during both coached and uncoached breathing. Comparable ITV displacements were observed at end-expiration phases of the 4DCT.


Differences in ITV position exceeding 5 mm between coached and uncoached 4DCT scans were detected in up to 56% of mobile tumors. Both end-inspiration and end-expiration RGRT were susceptible to displacements. This indicates that the method of audio-coaching should remain unchanged throughout the course of treatment.

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