Method comparison of ultrasound and kilovoltage x-ray fiducial marker imaging for prostate radiotherapy targeting

Clifton David Fuller, Charles R. Thomas, Scott Schwartz, Nanalei Golden, Joe Ting, Adrian Wong, Deniz Erdogmus, Todd J. Scarbrough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Several measurement techniques have been developed to address the capability for target volume reduction via target localization in image-guided radiotherapy; among these have been ultrasound (US) and fiducial marker (FM) software-assisted localization. In order to assess interchangeability between methods, US and FM localization were compared using established techniques for determination of agreement between measurement methods when a 'gold-standard' comparator does not exist, after performing both techniques daily on a sequential series of patients. At least 3 days prior to CT simulation, four gold seeds were placed within the prostate. FM software-assisted localization utilized the ExacTrac X-Ray 6D (BrainLab AG, Germany) kVp x-ray image acquisition system to determine prostate position; US prostate targeting was performed on each patient using the SonArray (Varian, Palo Alto, CA). Patients were aligned daily using laser alignment of skin marks. Directional shifts were then calculated by each respective system in the X, Y and Z dimensions before each daily treatment fraction, previous to any treatment or couch adjustment, as well as a composite vector of displacement. Directional shift agreement in each axis was compared using Altman-Bland limits of agreement, Lin's concordance coefficient with Partik's grading schema, and Deming orthogonal bias-weighted correlation methodology. 1019 software-assisted shifts were suggested by US and FM in 39 patients. The 95% limits of agreement in X, Y and Z axes were ±9.4 mm, ±11.3 mm and ±13.4, respectively. Three-dimensionally, measurements agreed within 13.4 mm in 95% of all paired measures. In all axes, concordance was graded as 'poor' or 'unacceptable'. Deming regression detected proportional bias in both directional axes and three-dimensional vectors. Our data suggest substantial differences between US and FM image-guided measures and subsequent suggested directional shifts. Analysis reveals that the vast majority of all individual US and FM directional measures may be expected to agree with each other within a range of 1-1.5 cm. Since neither system represents a gold standard, clinical judgment must dictate whether such a difference is of import. As IMRT protocols seek dose escalation and PTV reduction predicated on US- and FM-guided imaging, future studies are needed to address these potential clinically relevant issues regarding the interchangeability and accuracy of novel positional verification techniques. Comparison series with multiple image-guidance systems are needed to refine comparisons between targeting methods. However, we do not advocate interchangeability of US and FM localization methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number016
Pages (from-to)4981-4993
Number of pages13
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 7 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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