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Radiat Oncol. 2012 Jun 20;7:98. doi: 10.1186/1748-717X-7-98.

Incorporating breath holding and image guidance in the adjuvant gastric cancer radiotherapy: a dosimetric study.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China.



The respiratory related target motion and setup error will lead to a large margin in the gastric radiotherapy. The purpose of this study is to investigate the dosimetric benefit and the possibility of incorporating the breath-hold (BH) technique with online image-guided radiotherapy in the adjuvant gastric cancer radiotherapy.


Setup errors and target motions of 22 post-operative gastric cancer patients with surgical clips were analyzed. Clips movement was recorded using the digital fluoroscopics and the probability distribution functions (pdf) of the target motions were created for both the free breathing (FB) and BH treatment. For dosimetric comparisons, two intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) treatment plans, i.e. the free breathing treatment plan (IMRT(FB)) and the image-guided BH treatment plan (IMRT(IGBH)) using the same beam parameters were performed among 6 randomly selected patients. Different margins for FB and BH plans were derived. The plan dose map was convoluted with various pdfs of the setup errors and the target motions. Target coverage and dose to organs at risk were compared and the dose-escalation probability was assessed.


The mean setup errors were 1.2 mm in the superior-inferior (SI), 0.0 mm in the left-right (LR), and 1.4 mm in the anterior-posterior (AP) directions. The mean target motion for the free breathing (vs. BH) was 11.1 mm (vs. 2.2 mm), 1.9 mm (vs. 1.1 mm), and 5.5 mm (vs. 1.7 mm) in the SI, LR, and AP direction, respectively. The target coverage was comparable for all the original plans. IMRT(IGBH) showed lower dose to the liver compared with IMRT(FB) (p = 0.01) but no significant difference in the kidneys. Convolved IMRTIGBH showed better sparing in kidneys (p < 0.01) and similar in liver (p = 0.08).


Combining BH technique with online image guided IMRT can minimize the organ motion and improve the setup accuracy. The dosimetric comparison showed the dose could be escalated to 54 Gy without increasing the critical organs toxicities, although further clinical data is needed.

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