Evaluation of the ITV-margin and variables affecting bladder and mesorectal deformation during long course neoadjuvant radiotherapy for rectal cancer


      Internal target volume (ITV) margins were estimated by evaluating the movement of mesorectum and bladder during neoadjuvant long-course radiation therapy (RT) for rectal cancer. In this prospective study, 23 patients with rectal cancer had planning CT (pCT) and weekly cone beam CT (CBCT) in supine position during preoperative long-course RT. Mesorectal wall motion was analyzed based on the coordinates of the most anterior, posterior, left and right points on the pCT and CBCT. Overlap volume (OV) between the pCT bladder and CBCT mesorectum was generated. Variables that might affect relative bladder volume (ratio of CBCT to pCT bladder volumes), anterior mesorectal wall position, and OV were studied. ITV margins were also calculated. In females, smaller OV and less movement of the upper anterior mesorectal wall were identified, suggesting smaller ITV margins might be required compared to males. The relative bladder volume did not change significantly over time and was correlated with OV: the larger the relative bladder volume, the less the OV. ITV margin of 0.8 to 1.1 cm in right-left direction is satisfactory. Posteriorly, only 8 to 9 mm margin is required for upper and mid rectal regions but double of this is required for inferior third. Anteriorly, 1.3 cm margin is adequate for lower and mid rectal regions and 2.4 cm is required superiorly. An anisotropic ITV expansion of clinical target volume (CTV) for rectal cancer radiotherapy contouring provides a robust method to encompass the deformation of bladder and mesorectum. The ITV margin should take into account sex and distance from the anal verge.


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