The aim of this study is to provide guidelines for the selection of external-beam radiation therapy target margins to compensate for target motion in the lung during treatment planning. A convolution model was employed to predict the effect of target motion on the delivered dose distribution. The accuracy of the model was confirmed with radiochromic film measurements in both static and dynamic phantom modes. 502 unique patient breathing traces were recorded and used to simulate the effect of target motion on a dose distribution. A 1D probability density function (PDF) representing the position of the target throughout the breathing cycle was generated from each breathing trace obtained during 4D CT. Changes in the target Symbol (the minimum dose received by 95% of the treatment target) due to target motion were analyzed and shown to correlate with the standard deviation of the PDF. Furthermore, the amount of target Symbol recovered per millimeter of increased field width was also shown to correlate with the standard deviation of the PDF. The sensitivity of changes in dose coverage with respect to target size was also determined. Margin selection recommendations that can be used to compensate for loss of target Symbol were generated based on the simulation results. These results are discussed in the context of clinical plans. We conclude that, for PDF standard deviations less than 0.4 cm with target sizes greater than 5 cm, little or no additional margins are required. Targets which are smaller than 5 cm with PDF standard deviations larger than 0.4 cm are most susceptible to loss of coverage. The largest additional required margin in this study was determined to be 8 mm.
PACS numbers: 87.53.Bn, 87.53.Kn, 87.55.D-, 87.55.Gh