Real-time soft tissue motion estimation for lung tumors during radiotherapy delivery

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To provide real-time lung tumor motion estimation during radiotherapy treatment delivery without the need for implanted fiducial markers or additional imaging dose to the patient.


2D radiographs from the therapy beam's-eye-view (BEV) perspective are captured at a frame rate of 12.8 Hz with a frame grabber allowing direct RAM access to the image buffer. An in-house developed real-time soft tissue localization algorithm is utilized to calculate soft tissue displacement from these images in real-time. The system is tested with a Varian TX linear accelerator and an AS-1000 amorphous silicon electronic portal imaging device operating at a resolution of 512 × 384 pixels. The accuracy of the motion estimation is verified with a dynamic motion phantom. Clinical accuracy was tested on lung SBRT images acquired at 2 fps.


Real-time lung tumor motion estimation from BEV images without fiducial markers is successfully demonstrated. For the phantom study, a mean tracking error <1.0 mm [root mean square (rms) error of 0.3 mm] was observed. The tracking rms accuracy on BEV images from a lung SBRT patient (≈20 mm tumor motion range) is 1.0 mm.


The authors demonstrate for the first time real-time markerless lung tumor motion estimation from BEV images alone. The described system can operate at a frame rate of 12.8 Hz and does not require prior knowledge to establish traceable landmarks for tracking on the fly. The authors show that the geometric accuracy is similar to (or better than) previously published markerless algorithms not operating in real-time.

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