Tracking the dynamic seroma cavity using fiducial markers in patients treated with accelerated partial breast irradiation using 3D conformal radiotherapy

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Medical Physics








3D conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT); accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI); breast cancer; fiducial markers; radiation therapy; seroma cavity


Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to perform an analysis of the changes in the dynamic seroma cavity based on fiducial markers in early stage breast cancer patients treated with accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) using three-dimensional conformal external beam radiotherapy (3D-CRT). Methods: A prospective, single arm trial was designed to investigate the utility of gold fiducial markers in image guided APBI using 3D-CRT. At the time of lumpectomy, four to six suture-type gold fiducial markers were sutured to the walls of the cavity. Patients were treated with a fractionation scheme consisting of 15 fractions with a fractional dose of 333 cGy. Treatment design and planning followed NSABP/RTOG B-39 guidelines. During radiation treatment, daily kV imaging was performed and the markers were localized and tracked. The change in distance between fiducial markers was analyzed based on the planning CT and daily kV images. Results: Thirty-four patients were simulated at an average of 28 days after surgery, and started the treatment on an average of 39 days after surgery. The average intermarker distance (AiMD) between fiducial markers was strongly correlated to seroma volume. The average reduction in AiMD was 19.1% (range 0.0%-41.4%) and 10.8% (range 0.0%-35.6%) for all the patients between simulation and completion of radiotherapy, and between simulation and beginning of radiotherapy, respectively. The change of AiMD fits an exponential function with a half-life of seroma shrinkage. The average half-life for seroma shrinkage was 15 days. After accounting for the reduction which started to occur after surgery through CT simulation and treatment, radiation was found to have minimal impact on the distance change over the treatment course. Conclusions: Using the marker distance change as a surrogate for seroma volume, it appears that the seroma cavity experiences an exponential reduction in size. The change in seroma size has implications in the size of the CTV, PTV, and percent of normal breast tissue irradiated when using 3D-CRT. © 2013 American Association of Physicists in Medicine.

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