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Radiother Oncol. 2019 Jun;135:78-85. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2019.02.004. Epub 2019 Mar 16.

Ultrafast single breath-hold cone-beam CT lung cancer imaging with faster linac gantry rotation.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, University Medical Center Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany; Department of Medical Physics and Bioengineering, Christchurch Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand. Electronic address:
Department of Radiation Oncology, University Medical Center Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany.



Lung tumors treated with hypo-fractionated deep-inspiration breath-hold stereotactic body radiotherapy benefit from fast imaging and treatment. Single breath-hold cone-beam-CT (CBCT) could reduce motion artifacts and improve treatment precision. Thus, gantry speed was accelerated to 18°/s, limiting acquisition time to 10-20 s. Image quality, dosimetry and registration accuracy were compared with standard-CBCT (3°/s).


For proof-of-concept, image quality was analyzed following customer acceptance tests, CT-dose index measured, and registration accuracy determined with an off-centered ball-bearing-phantom. A lung-tumor patient was simulated with differently shaped tumor-mimicking inlays in a thorax-phantom. Signal-to-noise-ratio, contrast-to-noise-ratio and geometry of the inlays quantified image quality. Dose was measured in representative positions. Registration accuracy was determined with inlays scanned in pre-defined positions. Manual, automatic (clinical software) and objective-automatic (in-house-developed) registration was performed on planning-CT, offsets between results and applied shifts were compared.


Image quality of ultrafast-CBCT was adequate for high-contrast areas, despite contrast-reduction of ∼80% due to undersampling. Dose-output was considerably reduced by 60-83% in presented setup; variations are due to gantry-braking characteristics. Registration accuracy was maintained better than 1 mm, mean displacement errors were 0.0 ± 0.2 mm with objective-automatic registration. Ultrafast-CBCT showed no significant registration differences to standard-CBCT.


This study of first tests with faster gantry rotation of 18°/s showed promising results for ultrafast high-contrast lung tumor CBCT imaging within single breath-hold of 10-20 s. Such fast imaging times, in combination with fast treatment delivery, could pave the way for intra-fractional combined imaging and treatment within one breath-hold phase, and thus mitigate residual motion and increase treatment accuracy and patient comfort. Even generally speaking, faster gantry rotation could set a benchmark with immense clinical impact where time matters most: palliative patient care, general reduction in uncertainty, and increase in patient throughput especially important for emerging markets with high patient numbers.


CBCT; IGRT; Lung DIBH; Single breath-hold imaging; Ultrafast imaging

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