Rectal and bladder motion during conformal radiotherapy after radical prostatectomy

Claudio Fiorino, Franca Foppiano, Paola Franzone, Sara Broggi, Pietro Castellone, Michela Marcenaro, Riccardo Calandrino, Giuseppe Sanguineti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and purpose: To investigate the extent and the impact of rectum and bladder motion during adjuvant conformal radiotherapy (3DCRT) after radical prostatectomy (RP). Materials and methods: Nine patients previously operated with RP and treated with early adjuvant 3DCRT were considered for this investigation. Weekly CT scans were collected during treatment (CT 1-CTn, n=4-6) and were 3D matched using bony anatomy with the planning CT (CT0). A single observer drew the contours of rectum and bladder on all CTs. The CTV (prostate±seminal vesicles surgical bed) was contoured on CT0 by a single observer and a 4-field 3DCRT technique was planned: dose statistics/dose-volume histograms (DVH) of the rectum and bladder were calculated for each contour referred to CT0, CT1...CTn. Average DVHs during the treatment were then calculated and compared with the planned DVH. Cranial, caudal, anterior and posterior shifts of rectum and bladder were also assessed by lateral BEV projections. NTCP values for the rectum were also calculated using the Lyman-Kutcher model. Results: Random variations of volume and DVHs due to variable filling content were found for the bladder; a trend of the bladder to be more empty during therapy with respect to CT0 was also found (median values: 45 cm3 vs. 79 cm3, P=0.02). Regarding the rectum, 6/9 patients showed an average DVH 'worse' than the planned one (up to 10-20%). BEV and volume analyses showed that the rectal volume decreased in 3/9 patients after the first week. In 6/9 patients a systematic anterior shift of the cranial half of the rectum was detected and found to be correlated with a corresponding shift of the posterior border of CTV contoured by five different observers. The average rectal NTCP during therapy was systematically higher than the NTCP referred to CT0 (average increase 1.2%; range 0.0-3.7%, for a 70 Gy ICRU dose, P=0.01). Conclusions: The impact of systematic uncertainty due to rectal wall motion seems to be relatively high for patients treated with adjuvant 3DCRT after RP. The detected trend of the rectum in migrating anteriorly during therapy is consistent with post-surgery settlement effects and/or some modification of rectum mobility due to irradiation. Rectal motion (and consequent shifts of CTV) was large at the half cranial portion of the rectum while it was very small below the flexure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-195
Number of pages9
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2005


  • Adjuvant radiotherapy
  • Conformal radiotherapy
  • Organ motion
  • Radical prostatectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Urology


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