Document Type


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Journal/Book/Conference Title

Advances in Radiation Oncology





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Originally published at

Funded in part by the VCU Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund.

Date of Submission

August 2020



Variations in the breathing characteristics, both on short term (intrafraction) and long term (interfraction) time scales, may adversely affect the radiation therapy process at all stages when treating lung tumors. Prone position has been shown to improve consistency (ie, reduced intrafraction variability) and reproducibility (ie, reduced interfraction variability) of the respiratory pattern with respect to breathing amplitude and period as a result of natural abdominal compression, with no active involvement required from the patient. The next natural step in investigating breathing-induced changes is to evaluate motion amplitude changes between prone and supine targets or organs at risk, which is the purpose of the present study. Methods and Materials

Patients with lung cancer received repeat helical 4-dimensional computed tomography scans, one prone and one supine, during the same radiation therapy simulation session. In the maximum-inhale and maximum-exhale phases, all thoracic structures were delineated by an expert radiation oncologist. Geometric centroid trajectories of delineated structures were compared between patient orientations. Motion amplitude was measured as the magnitude of difference in structure centroid position between inhale and exhale. Results

Amplitude of organ motion was larger when the patient was in the prone position compared with supine for all structures except the lower left lobe and left lung as a whole. Across all 12 patients, significant differences in mean motion amplitude between orientations were identified for the right lung (3.0 mm, P = .01), T2 (0.5 mm, P = .01) and T12 (2.1 mm, P < .001) vertebrae, the middle third of the esophagus (4.0 mm, P = .03), and the lung tumor (1.7 mm, P = .02). Conclusions

Respiration-induced thoracic organ motion was quantified in the prone position and compared with that of the supine position for 12 patients with thoracic lesions. The prone position induced larger organ motion compared with supine, particularly for the lung tumor, likely requiring increases in planning margins compared with supine.


© 2020 The Authors. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

Is Part Of

VCU Radiation Oncology Publications