On-Board Patient Positioning for Head-and-Neck IMRT: Comparing Digital Tomosynthesis to Kilovoltage Radiography and Cone-Beam Computed Tomography

Q. Jackie Wu, Devon J. Godfrey, Zhiheng Wang, Junan Zhang, Sumin Zhou, Sua Yoo, David M. Brizel, Fang Fang Yin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Purpose: High-precision intensity-modulated radiotherapy demands high patient positioning accuracy. On-board digital tomosynthesis (DTS) provides three-dimensional (3D) image guidance for daily positioning with a lower imaging dose, faster acquisition, and more geometric flexibility than 3D cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT). This clinical study evaluated DTS as a daily imaging technique for patient positioning and compared the results with 3D CBCT and two-dimensional (2D) radiography. Methods and Materials: Head and neck cancer patients undergoing intensity-modulated radiotherapy were studied. For each session, the patient was positioned using laser marks. On-board imaging data sets, including 2D kilovoltage radiographs, DTS, and CBCT, were obtained to measure the daily patient positioning variations. The mean and standard deviations of the positioning variations in the translational and rotational directions were calculated. The positioning differences among 2D radiography, DTS, and CBCT were analyzed. Results: Image data sets were collected from 65 treatment fractions for 10 patients. The systematic patient positioning variation was <0.10 cm and 1.0° one dimensionally. The random variations were 0.27-0.34 cm in the translational and 0.93°-1.99° in the rotational direction. The mean vector isocenter variation was 0.48 cm. DTS with 40° and 20° scan angles in the coronal or sagittal directions yielded the same results for patient positioning. DTS performance was comparable to that of CBCT, with positioning differences of <0.1 cm and 0.5°. The positioning difference between 2D radiography and DTS was ∼0.1 cm and 0.2 cm in the vertical/longitudinal and lateral directions. Conclusion: Our results have demonstrated that DTS is a comparable 3D imaging technique to CBCT for daily patient positioning of head-and-neck patients as determined by manual registration of bony anatomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-606
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • CBCT
  • Cone-beam computed tomography
  • DTS
  • Digital tomosynthesis
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Image-guided radiotherapy
  • On-board imaging
  • Setup variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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