Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Medical Physics

First Advisor

Jeffrey Williamson, Ph.D.


In radiation therapy, interfraction organ motion introduces a level of geometric uncertainty into the planning process. Plans, which are typically based upon a single instance of anatomy, must be robust against daily anatomical variations. For this problem, a model of the magnitude, direction, and likelihood of deformation is useful. In this thesis, principal component analysis (PCA) is used to statistically model the 3D organ motion for 19 prostate cancer patients, each with 8-13 fractional computed tomography (CT) images. Deformable image registration and the resultant displacement vector fields (DVFs) are used to quantify the interfraction systematic and random motion. By applying the PCA technique to the random DVFs, principal modes of random tissue deformation were determined for each patient, and a method for sampling synthetic random DVFs was developed.

The PCA model was then extended to describe the principal modes of systematic and random organ motion for the population of patients. A leave-one-out study tested both the systematic and random motion model’s ability to represent PCA training set DVFs. The random and systematic DVF PCA models allowed the reconstruction of these data with absolute mean errors between 0.5-0.9 mm and 1-2 mm, respectively. To the best of the author’s knowledge, this study is the first successful effort to build a fully 3D statistical PCA model of systematic tissue deformation in a population of patients.

By sampling synthetic systematic and random errors, organ occupancy maps were created for bony and prostate-centroid patient setup processes. By thresholding these maps, PCA-based planning target volume (PTV) was created and tested against conventional margin recipes (van Herk for bony alignment and 5 mm fixed [3 mm posterior] margin for centroid alignment) in a virtual clinical trial for low-risk prostate cancer. Deformably accumulated delivered dose served as a surrogate for clinical outcome. For the bony landmark setup subtrial, the PCA PTV significantly (p30, D20, and D5 to bladder and D50 to rectum, while increasing rectal D20 and D5. For the centroid-aligned setup, the PCA PTV significantly reduced all bladder DVH metrics and trended to lower rectal toxicity metrics. All PTVs covered the prostate with the prescription dose.


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