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J Radiat Res. 2012 Nov 1;53(6):954-60. doi: 10.1093/jrr/rrs041. Epub 2012 Jul 26.

Interfractional and intrafractional errors assessed by daily cone-beam computed tomography in nasopharyngeal carcinoma treated with intensity-modulated radiation therapy: a prospective study.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, People's Hospital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Nanning, PR China.


This prospective study was to assess interfractional and intrafractional errors and to estimate appropriate margins for planning target volume (PTV) by using daily cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) guidance in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Daily pretreatment and post-treatment CBCT scans were acquired separately after initial patient setup and after the completion of each treatment fraction in 10 patients treated with IMRT. Online corrections were made before treatment if any translational setup error was found. Interfractional and intrafractional errors were recorded in the right-left (RL), superior-inferior (SI) and anterior-posterior (AP) directions. For the translational shifts, interfractional errors >2 mm occurred in 21.7% of measurements in the RL direction, 12.7% in the SI direction and 34.1% in the AP direction, respectively. Online correction resulted in 100% of residual errors ≤2 mm in the RL and SI directions, and 95.5% of residual errors ≤2 mm in the AP direction. No residual errors >3 mm occurred in the three directions. For the rotational shifts, a significant reduction was found in the magnitudes of residual errors compared with those of interfractional errors. A margin of 4.9 mm, 4.0 mm and 6.3 mm was required in the RL, SI and AP directions, respectively, when daily CBCT scans were not performed. With daily CBCT, the margins were reduced to 1.2 mm in all directions. In conclusion, daily CBCT guidance is an effective modality to improve the accuracy of IMRT for NPC. The online correction could result in a 70-81% reduction in margin size.

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