An evaluation of setup uncertainties for patients treated to pelvic sites

Margie A. Hunt, Timothy E. Schultheiss, Gregory E. Desobry, Morgan Hakki, Gerald E. Hanks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Purpose: Successful delivery of conformal fields requires stringent immobilization and treatment verification, as well as knowledge of the setup reproducibility. The purpose of this study was to compare the three-dimensional distribution of setup variations for patients treated to pelvic sites with electronic portal imaging devices (EPID) and portal film. Methods and Materials: Nine patients with genitourinary and gynecological cancers immobilized with custom casts and treated with a four-field whole-pelvis technique were imaged daily using an EPID and filmed once every five to seven treatments. The three-dimensional translational and rotational setup errors were determined using a technique that relies on anatomical landmarks identified on simulation and treatment images. The distributions of the translational and rotational variations in each dimension as well as the total displacement of the treatment isocenter from the simulation isocenter were determined. Results: Grouped analysis of all patients revealed average unidirectional translational deviations of less than 2 mm and a standard deviation of 5.3 mm. The average total undirected distance between the treatment and simulated isocenters was 8.3 mm with a standard deviation of 5 mm. Individual patient analysis revealed eight of none patients had statistically significant nonzero mean translational variations (p < 0.05). Translational variations measured with film were an average of 1.4 mm less than those measured withEPID, but this difference was nto statistically significant. Conclusion: Translational variations measured in thsi study are in general agreement with previous studies. The use of the EPID in this study was less intrusive and may have resulted in less additional attention being given each imaging setup. This may explain the slightly larger average translational variations observed with EPID vs. film, and suggests that the use of EPIDs is a superior method for assessign the true extent of setup displacements. Although no statistically significant translational variations for the patient group overall were observed, 90% of patients had significant translational variations in at least one direction when analyzed separately. The margin to be added to the clinical target volume (CTV) to account for setup uncertainties will depend on whether it is possible to identify patients with significant translational variations, and to eliminate these displacements from routine treatments. The choice to eliminate these variations and to use a smaller CTV margin will have to be accompanied by stringent frequent position verification methods and repositioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-233
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 30 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Conformal therapy
  • Prostate cancer
  • Treatment reproducibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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