Motion and volumetric change as demonstrated by 4DCT: The effects of abdominal compression on the GTV, lungs, and heart in lung cancer patients

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Practical Radiation Oncology








© 2016 American Society for Radiation Oncology Purpose Lung tumors move during respiration, complicating radiation therapy. The abdominal compression plate (ACP) is thought to reduce respiratory motion. This study quantifies ACP efficacy on respiratory-induced motion by using 4-dimensional computed tomography to evaluate volume and displacement changes of the heart, lungs, and tumor with and without ACP. Methods and materials Lung cancer patients (n = 17) received 4-dimensional computed tomography simulations (10 computed tomography scans from 0% to 90% breathing phases) with and without ACP under maximally tolerated diaphragmatic pressure. Gross tumor volume (GTV), heart, and lungs were contoured in treatment planning software for each phase. Structures were exported for analysis. For each phase, with and without ACP, tumor and organ absolute centroid range of motion and volume were calculated. Results ACP did not significantly affect GTV, heart, or lung motion on the sample as a whole, but instead demonstrated patient-specific results. ACP reduced GTV motion in 3 (17.6%; 3 upper lobe tumors) by 2.9 mm (P <. 01), increased motion in 5 (29.4%; 3 upper lobe tumors, 1 middle lobe, 1 lower lobe) by 1.9 mm (P <. 03), and did not significantly change 9. Of the 3 patients exhibiting significantly decreased GTV motion, GTV, heart, and lung range of motion was 7.4 mm, 11.8 mm, and 11.9 mm, respectively, without compression and 4.5 mm, 8.4 mm, and 10.9 mm, respectively, with compression. Averaged across the sample, ACP did not exhibit any axis-specific effect. Conclusions ACP efficacy was patient-specific, possibly because of pre-existing factors including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease severity, chest wall elasticity, tumor location, and patient comfort. Tumor lobe location does not predetermine compression efficacy; therefore, patients should be simulated with and without ACP, regardless of tumor location. GTV motion seems most important in determining suitability for compression. Alternative motion control should be considered in patients not benefited by compression. In patients who benefited, ACP may enhance tumor coverage while minimizing toxicity. Larger scale studies are necessary for definitive treatment recommendations.

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