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Phys Med Biol. 2005 Sep 7;50(17):4021-33. Epub 2005 Aug 11.

Real-time intra-fraction-motion tracking using the treatment couch: a feasibility study.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Significant differences between planned and delivered treatments may occur due to respiration-induced tumour motion, leading to underdosing of parts of the tumour and overdosing of parts of the surrounding critical structures. Existing methods proposed to counter tumour motion include breath-holds, gating and MLC-based tracking. Breath-holds and gating techniques increase treatment time considerably, whereas MLC-based tracking is limited to two dimensions. We present an alternative solution in which a robotic couch moves in real time in response to organ motion. To demonstrate proof-of-principle, we constructed a miniature adaptive couch model consisting of two movable platforms that simulate tumour motion and couch motion, respectively. These platforms were connected via an electronic feedback loop so that the bottom platform responded to the motion of the top platform. We tested our model with a seven-field step-and-shoot delivery case in which we performed three film-based experiments: (1) static geometry, (2) phantom-only motion and (3) phantom motion with simulated couch motion. Our measurements demonstrate that the miniature couch was able to compensate for phantom motion to the extent that the dose distributions were practically indistinguishable from those in static geometry. Motivated by this initial success, we investigated a real-time couch compensation system consisting of a stereoscopic infra-red camera system interfaced to a robotic couch known as the Hexapod, which responds in real time to any change in position detected by the cameras. Optical reflectors placed on a solid water phantom were used as surrogates for motion. We tested the effectiveness of couch-based motion compensation for fixed fields and a dynamic arc delivery cases. Due to hardware limitations, we performed film-based experiments (1), (2) and (3), with the robotic couch at a phantom motion period and dose rate of 16 s and 100 MU min(-1), respectively. Analysis of film measurements showed near-equivalent dose distributions (<or=2 mm agreement of corresponding isodose lines) for static geometry and motion-synchronized real-time robotic couch tracking-based radiation delivery.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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