A Feasibility Study on Ribs as Anatomical Landmarks for Motion Tracking of Lung and Liver Tumors at External Beam Radiotherapy


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Abstract

At external beam radiotherapy for some tumors located at thorax region due to lack of information in gray scale fluoroscopic images tumor position determination is problematic. One of the clinical strategies is to implant clip as internal fiducial marker inside or near tumor to represent tumor position while the contrast of implanted clip is highly observable rather than tumor. As alternative, using natural anatomical landmarks located at thorax region of patient body is proposed to extract tumor position information without implanting clips that is invasive method with possible side effect. Among natural landmarks, ribs of rib-cage structure that result proper visualization at X-ray images may be optimal as representative for tumor motion. In this study, we investigated the existence of possible correlation between ribs as natural anatomical landmarks and various lung and liver tumors located at different sites as challenging issue. A simulation study was performed using data extracted from 4-dimensional extended cardiac-torso anthropomorphic phantom that is able to simulate motion effect of dynamic organs, as well. Several tumor sites with predefined distances originated from chosen ribs at anterior–posterior direction were simulated at 3 upper, middle, and lower parts of chest. Correlation coefficient between ribs and tumors was calculated to investigate the robustness of ribs as anatomical landmarks for tumor motion tracking. Moreover, a consistent correlation model was taken into account to track tumor motion with a rib as best candidate among selected ribs. Final results represent availability of using rib cage as anatomical landmark to track lung and liver tumors in a noninvasive way. Observations of our calculations showed a proper correlation between tumors and ribs while the degree of this correlation is changing depends on tumor site while lung tumors are more varied and complex with less correlation with ribs motion against liver tumors.

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