Quality control by portal film analysis in radiotherapy for prostate cancer: A comparison between two different institutions and treatment techniques

C. Italia, C. Fiorino, M. Ciocca, G. M. Cattaneo, P. Montanaro, A. Bolognesi, A. Lanceni, M. Reni, A. Bonini, A. Modugno, R. Calandrino, R. Valdagni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims and background: Accuracy and reproducibility of patient setup during radiotherapy for prostate cancer were investigated in two different institutions (A and B), within their Quality Assurance programs. The purpose of the study was to evaluate and compare setup accuracy and reproducibility in Institutions A and B, which adopt different patient positioning and treatment techniques for prostate irradiation. Materials and methods: A retrospective analysis of portal localization films taken during the treatment course was performed: 30 and 21 patients in Institutes A and B, respectively, entered the study. In Institute A, patients were treated in a prone position, utilizing an individualized immobilization cast (either an alpha cradle or a heat and vacuum-formed cellulose acetate cast) with an open table top and individual abdominal wall compressor to minimize small bowel irradiation; a 5-field conformal technique was used. In Institute B, patients were treated in a supine position without any immobilization device; a 6- field BEV-based technique (conformal only for patients treated with a radical aim) was adopted. A total of 598 portal films (420 from Institute A and 178 from Institute B) were analyzed. The mean number of films per patient was 12 (range, 4-29). Systematic and random setup errors were estimated utilizing the statistical method suggested by Bijhold et al. (1992). Results: When patients with a mean (systematic) error larger than 5, 8 and 10 mm in craniocaudal, lateral and posterior-anterior directions, respectively, were compared, no statistically significant difference between the two groups was observed. Similarly, when comparing portal films, a significant difference (P 5 mm: Institute A = 24%; Institute B = 11%). In both Institutes, the SD of random and systematic error distribution ranged from 1.8 to 4.2 mm, with a small prevalence of systematic errors. Only for craniocaudal shifts in Institute A was the random error larger than the systematic error, and it was significantly worse than in Institute B (1 SD, 4.2 mm in Institute A vs 1.8 mm in Institute B). Conclusions: Setup errors observed in Institutes A and B were similar and in accord with data reported in the literature. In Institute B, satisfactory geometrical treatment quality was achieved without patient immobilization. In Institute A, the goal of minimizing small bowel irradiation and prostate motion through the aforementioned technique, which makes patient position less comfortable, did not seem to considerably increase daily setup uncertainty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)640-648
Number of pages9
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Conformal radiotherapy
  • Immobilization
  • Portal films
  • Prostate
  • Setup errors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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