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Phys Med Biol. 2013 Apr 7;58(7):2413-27. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/58/7/2413. Epub 2013 Mar 18.

The random walk model of intrafraction movement.

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Department of Radiotherapy and Radiation Oncology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Marchioninistrasse 15, D-81377 Munich, Germany.


The purpose of this paper is to understand intrafraction movement as a stochastic process driven by random external forces. The hypothetically proposed three-dimensional random walk model has significant impact on optimal PTV margins and offers a quantitatively correct explanation of experimental findings. Properties of the random walk are calculated from first principles, in particular fraction-average population density distributions for displacements along the principal axes. When substituted into the established optimal margin recipes these fraction-average distributions yield safety margins about 30% smaller as compared to the suggested values from end-of-fraction gaussian fits. Stylized facts of a random walk are identified in clinical data, such as the increase of the standard deviation of displacements with the square root of time. Least squares errors in the comparison to experimental results are reduced by about 50% when accounting for non-gaussian corrections from the random walk model.

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