A computational method for estimating the dosimetric effect of intra-fraction motion on step-and-shoot IMRT and compensator plans

Ben J. Waghorn, Amish P. Shah, Wilfred Ngwa, Sanford L. Meeks, Joseph A. Moore, Jeffrey V. Siebers, Katja M. Langen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Intra-fraction organ motion during intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) treatment can cause differences between the planned and the delivered dose distribution. To investigate the extent of these dosimetric changes, a computational model was developed and validated. The computational method allows for calculation of the rigid motion perturbed three-dimensional dose distribution in the CT volume and therefore a dose volume histogram-based assessment of the dosimetric impact of intra-fraction motion on a rigidly moving body. The method was developed and validated for both step-and-shoot IMRT and solid compensator IMRT treatment plans. For each segment (or beam), fluence maps were exported from the treatment planning system. Fluence maps were shifted according to the target position deduced from a motion track. These shifted, motion-encoded fluence maps were then re-imported into the treatment planning system and were used to calculate the motion-encoded dose distribution. To validate the accuracy of the motion-encoded dose distribution the treatment plan was delivered to a moving cylindrical phantom using a programmed four-dimensional motion phantom. Extended dose response (EDR-2) film was used to measure a planar dose distribution for comparison with the calculated motion-encoded distribution using a gamma index analysis (3% dose difference, 3 mm distance-to-agreement). A series of motion tracks incorporating both inter-beam step-function shifts and continuous sinusoidal motion were tested. The method was shown to accurately predict the film's dose distribution for all of the tested motion tracks, both for the step-and-shoot IMRT and compensator plans. The average gamma analysis pass rate for the measured dose distribution with respect to the calculated motion-encoded distribution was 98.3 ± 0.7%. For static delivery the average film-to-calculation pass rate was 98.7 ± 0.2%. In summary, a computational technique has been developed to calculate the dosimetric effect of intra-fraction motion. This technique has the potential to evaluate a given plan's sensitivity to anticipated organ motion. With knowledge of the organ's motion it can also be used as a tool to assess the impact of measured intra-fraction motion after dose delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4187-4202
Number of pages16
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 21 2010
Externally publishedYes


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