Observer uncertainties of soft tissue-based patient positioning in IGRT

Taka aki Hirose, Hidetaka Arimura, Jun ichi Fukunaga, Saiji Ohga, Tadamasa Yoshitake, Yoshiyuki Shioyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: There remain uncertainties due to inter- and intraobserver variability in soft-tissue-based patient positioning even with the use of image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT). This study aimed to reveal observer uncertainties of soft-tissue-based patient positioning on cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) images for prostate cancer IGRT. Methods: Twenty-six patients (7–8 fractions/patient, total number of 204 fractions) who underwent IGRT for prostate cancer were selected. Six radiation therapists retrospectively measured prostate cancer location errors (PCLEs) of soft-tissue-based patient positioning between planning CT (pCT) and pretreatment CBCT (pre-CBCT) images after automatic bone-based registration. Observer uncertainties were evaluated based on residual errors, which denoted the differences between soft-tissue and reference positioning errors. Reference positioning errors were obtained as PCLEs of contour-based patient positioning between pCT and pre-CBCT images. Intraobserver variations were obtained from the difference between the first and second soft-tissue-based patient positioning repeated by the same observer for each fraction. Systematic and random errors of inter- and intraobserver variations were calculated in anterior–posterior (AP), superior–inferior (SI), and left–right (LR) directions. Finally, clinical target volume (CTV)-to-planning target volume (PTV) margins were obtained from systematic and random errors of inter- and intraobserver variations in AP, SI, and LR directions. Results: Interobserver variations in AP, SI, and LR directions were 0.9, 0.9, and 0.5 mm, respectively, for the systematic error, and 1.8, 2.2, and 1.1 mm, respectively, for random error. Intraobserver variations were <0.2 mm in all directions. CTV-to-PTV margins in AP, SI, and LR directions were 3.5, 3.8, and 2.1 mm, respectively. Conclusion: Intraobserver variability was sufficiently small and would be negligible. However, uncertainties due to interobserver variability for soft-tissue-based patient positioning using CBCT images should be considered in CTV-to-PTV margins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiation
  • Instrumentation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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