Is ExacTrac x-ray system an alternative to CBCT for positioning patients with head and neck cancers?

Stefania Clemente, Costanza Chiumento, Alba Fiorentino, Vittorio Simeon, Mariella Cozzolino, Caterina Oliviero, Giorgia Califano, Rocchina Caivano, Vincenzo Fusco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To evaluate the usefulness of a six-degrees-of freedom (6D) correction using ExacTrac robotics system in patients with head-and-neck (HN) cancer receiving radiation therapy. Methods: Local setup accuracy was analyzed for 12 patients undergoing intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). Patient position was imaged daily upon two different protocols, cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT), and ExacTrac (ET) images correction. Setup data from either approach were compared in terms of both residual errors after correction and punctual displacement of selected regions of interest (Mandible, C2, and C6 vertebral bodies). Results: On average, both protocols achieved reasonably low residual errors after initial correction. The observed differences in shift vectors between the two protocols showed that CBCT tends to weight more C2 and C6 at the expense of the mandible, while ET tends to average more differences among the different ROIs. Conclusions: CBCT, even without 6D correction capabilities, seems preferable to ET for better consistent alignment and the capability to see soft tissues. Therefore, in our experience, CBCT represents a benchmark for positioning head and neck cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111725
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • CBCT
  • ExacTrac
  • head and neck positioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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