A key challenge in radiation oncology is accurate delivery of the prescribed dose to tumours that move because of respiration. Tumour tracking involves real-time target localisation and correction of radiation beam geometry to compensate for motion. Uncertainties in tumour localisation are important in particle therapy (proton therapy, carbon-ion therapy) because charged particle beams are highly sensitive to geometrical and associated density and radiological variations in path length, which will affect the treatment plan. Target localisation and motion compensation methods applied in x-ray photon radiotherapy require careful performance assessment for clinical applications in particle therapy. In this Review, we summarise the efforts required for an application of real-time tumour tracking in particle therapy, by comparing and assessing competing strategies for time-resolved target localisation and related clinical outcomes in x-ray radiation oncology.
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