Respiration-Induced Intraorgan Deformation of the Liver: Implications for Treatment Planning in Patients Treated With Fiducial Tracking

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Stereotactic body radiation therapy is a well-tolerated modality for the treatment of primary and metastatic liver lesions, and fiducials are often used as surrogates for tumor tracking during treatment. We evaluated respiratory-induced liver deformation by measuring the rigidity of the fiducial configuration during the breathing cycle. Seventeen patients, with 18 distinct treatment courses, were treated with stereotactic body radiosurgery using multiple fiducials. Liver deformation was empirically quantified by measuring the intrafiducial distances at different phases of respiration. Data points were collected at the 0%, 50%, and 100% inspiration points, and the distance between each pair of fiducials was measured at the 3 phases. The rigid body error was calculated as the maximum difference in the intrafiducial distances. Liver disease was calculated with Child-Pugh score using laboratory values within 3 months of initiation of treatment. A peripheral fiducial was defined as within 1.5 cm of the liver edge, and all other fiducials were classified as central. For 5 patients with only peripheral fiducials, the fiducial configuration had more deformation (average maximum rigid body error 7.11 mm, range: 1.89-11.35 mm) when compared to patients with both central and peripheral and central fiducials only (average maximum rigid body error 3.36 mm, range: 0.5-9.09 mm, P = .037). The largest rigid body errors (11.3 and 10.6 mm) were in 2 patients with Child-Pugh class A liver disease and multiple peripheral fiducials. The liver experiences internal deformation, and the fiducial configuration should not be assumed to act as a static structure. We observed greater deformation at the periphery than at the center of the liver. In our small data set, we were not able to identify cirrhosis, which is associated with greater rigidity of the liver, as predictive for deformation. Treatment planning based only on fiducial localization must take potential intraorgan deformation into account.

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