Markerless Real-Time 3-Dimensional kV Tracking of Lung Tumors During Free Breathing Stereotactic Radiation Therapy

Kimmie de Bruin, Max Dahele, Hassan Mostafavi, Berend J. Slotman, Wilko F. A. R. Verbakel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Accurate verification of tumor position during irradiation could reduce the probability of target miss. We investigated whether a commercial gantry-mounted 2-dimensional (2D) kilo-voltage (kV) imaging system could be used for real-time 3D tumor tracking during volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) lung stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). Markerless tumor tracking on kV fluoroscopic images was validated using a life-like moving thorax phantom and subsequently performed on kV images continuously acquired before and during free-breathing VMAT lung SBRT. Methods and Materials: The 3D-printed/molded phantom containing 3 lung tumors was moved in 3D in TrueBeam developer mode, using simulated regular/irregular breathing patterns. Planar kV images were acquired at 7 frames/s during 11 Gy/fraction 10 MV flattening filter free VMAT. 2D reference templates were created for each gantry angle using the planning 4D computed tomography inspiration phase. kV images and templates were matched using normalized cross correlation to determine 2D tumor position, and triangulation of 2D matched projections determined the third dimension. 3D target tracking performed on cone beam computed tomography projection data from 18 patients (20 tumors) and real-time online tracking data from 2 of the 18 patients who underwent free-breathing VMAT lung SBRT are presented. Results: For target 1 and 2 of the phantom (upper lung and middle/medial lung, mean density –130 Hounsfield units), 3D results within 2 mm of the known position were present in 92% and 96% of the kV projections, respectively. For target 3 (inferior lung, mean density –478 Hounsfield units) this dropped to 80%. Benchmarking against the respiratory signal, 13/20 (65%) tumors (10.5 ± 11.1 cm3) were considered successfully tracked on the cone beam computed tomography data. Tracking was less successful (≤50% of the time) in 7/20 (1.2 ± 1.5 cm3). Successful online tracking during lung SBRT was demonstrated. Conclusions: 3D markerless tumor tracking on a standard linear accelerator using template matching and triangulation of free-breathing kV fluoroscopic images was possible in 65% of small lung tumors. The smallest tumors were most challenging.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100705
JournalAdvances in Radiation Oncology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021

Cite this