Set-up error in supine-positioned patients immobilized with two different modalities during conformal radiotherapy of prostate cancer

Claudio Fiorino, Michele Reni, Angelo Bolognesi, Antonio Bonini, Giovanni Mauro Cattaneo, Riccardo Calandrino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Conformal radiotherapy requires reduced margins around the clinical target volume (CTV) with respect to traditional radiotherapy techniques. Therefore, high set-up accuracy and reproducibility are mandatory. Purpose: To investigate the effectiveness of two different immobilization techniques during conformal radiotherapy of prostate cancer with small fields. Materials and methods: 52 patients with prostate cancer were treated by conformal three- or four-field techniques with radical or adjuvant intent between November 1996 and March 1998. In total, 539 portal images were collected on a weekly basis for at least the first 4 weeks of the treatment on lateral and anterior 18 MV X-ray fields. The average number of sessions monitored per patient was 5.7 (range 4-10). All patients were immobilized with an alpha-cradle system; 25 of them were immobilized at the pelvis level (group A) and the remaining 27 patients were immobilized in the legs (group B). The shifts with respect to the simulation condition were assessed by measuring the distances between the same bony landmarks and the field edges. The global distributions of cranio-caudal (CC), posterior- anterior (PA) and left-right (LR) shifts were considered; for each patient random and systematic error components were assessed by following the procedure suggested by Bijhold et al. (Bijhold J, Lebesque JV, Hart AAM, Vijlbrief RE. Maximising set-up accuracy using portal images as applied to a conformal boost technique for prostatic cancer. Radiother. Oncol. 1992;24:261-271). For each patient the average isocentre (3D) shift was assessed as the quadratic sum of the average shifts in the three directions. Results: Group B showed a better accuracy and reproducibility than group A for PA shifts (2.6 versus 4.4 mm, 1 SD), LR shifts (2.4 versus 3.6 mm, 1 SD) and CC shifts (2.7 versus 3.3 mm, 1 SD). Furthermore, group B showed a rate of large PA shifts (>5 mm) equal to 4.4% with respect to the 21.6% of group A (P <0.0001). This value was also better than the corresponding value found in a previously investigated group of 21 non-immobilized patients (Italia C, Fiorino C, Ciocca M, et al. Quality control by portal film analysis of the conformal radiotherapy of prostate cancer: comparison between two different institutions and treatment techniques (abstract). Radiother. Oncol. 1997;43(Suppl. 2):S16, 16.8%, P = 0.001). For both groups there was no clear prevalence of one component (systematic or random) with respect to the other. The average isocentre shifts (averaged on all patients) were 3.0 mm (±1.4 mm, 1 SD) for group B and 5.0 mm (±2.8 mm, 1 SD) for group A against a value of 4.4 mm (±2.4 mm, 1 SD) for the previously investigated non-immobilized patient group. Conclusions: Immobilization of the legs with an alpha-cradle system seems to improve both the accuracy and reproducibility of the positioning of patients treated for prostate cancer with respect to alpha- cradle pelvic-abdomen immobilization. Based on these data, we decided to use the legs immobilization system and to reduce the margin around the CTV (from 10 to 8 mm) in the PA direction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-141
Number of pages9
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1998


  • Conformal radiotherapy
  • Immobilization
  • Set-up accuracy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Urology

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