Publication date: Available online 30 March 2018
Source:Radiotherapy and Oncology
Author(s): Ming Chao, Jie Wei, Ganesh Narayanasamy, Yading Yuan, Yeh-Chi Lo, José A. Peñagarícano
PurposeTo investigate three-dimensional cluster structure and its correlation to clinical endpoint in heterogeneous dose distributions from intensity modulated radiation therapy.MethodsTwenty-five clinical plans from twenty-one head and neck (HN) patients were used for a phenomenological study of the cluster structure formed from the dose distributions of organs at risks (OARs) close to the planning target volumes (PTVs). Initially, OAR clusters were searched to examine the pattern consistence among ten HN patients and five clinically similar plans from another HN patient. Second, clusters of the esophagus from another ten HN patients were scrutinized to correlate their sizes to radiobiological parameters. Finally, an extensive Monte Carlo (MC) procedure was implemented to gain deeper insights into the behavioral properties of the cluster formation.ResultsClinical studies showed that OAR clusters had drastic differences despite similar PTV coverage among different patients, and the radiobiological parameters failed to positively correlate with the cluster sizes. MC study demonstrated the inverse relationship between the cluster size and the cluster connectivity, and the nonlinear changes in cluster size with dose thresholds. In addition, the clusters were insensitive to the shape of OARs.ConclusionThe results demonstrated that the cluster size could serve as an insightful index of normal tissue damage. The clinical outcome of the same dose–volume might be potentially different.
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