Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2009 Jul 15;74(4):1092-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2008.09.031. Epub 2008 Dec 25.

Motion analysis of 100 mediastinal lymph nodes: potential pitfalls in treatment planning and adaptive strategies.

Author information

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



The motion of mediastinal lymph nodes may undermine local control with involved-field radiotherapy. We studied patterns of nodal and tumor motion in 41 patients with lung cancer.


Four-dimensional (4D) computed tomography planning scans were retrospectively evaluated to identify patients with clearly visible mediastinal lymph nodes. One hundred nodes from 14 patients with Stage I and 27 patients with Stage III were manually contoured in all 4D computed tomography respiratory phases. Motion was derived from changes in the nodal center-of-mass position. Primary tumors were also delineated in all phases for 16 patients with Stage III disease. Statistical analysis included a multivariate mixed-effects model of grouped data.


Average 3D nodal motion during quiet breathing was 0.68 cm (range, 0.17-1.64 cm); 77% moved greater than 0.5 cm, and 10% moved greater than 1.0 cm. Motion was greatest in the lower mediastinum (p = 0.002), and nodes measuring 2 cm or greater in diameter showed motion similar to that in smaller nodes. In 11 of 16 patients studied, at least one node moved more than the corresponding primary tumor. No association between 3D primary tumor motion and nodal motion was observed. For mobile primary tumors, phase offsets between the primary tumor and nodes of two or more and three or more phases were observed for 33% and 12% of nodes, respectively.


Mediastinal nodal motion is common, with phase offsets seen between the primary tumor and different nodes in the same patient. Patient-specific information is needed to ensure geometric coverage, and adaptive strategies based solely on the primary tumor may be misleading.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center