Prostate target volume variations during a course of radiotherapy

John A. Antolak, Isaac I. Rosen, Constance H. Childress, Gunar K. Zagars, Alan Pollack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

184 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to measure the mobility of the clinical target volume (CTV) in prostate radiotherapy with respect to the pelvic anatomy during a course of therapy. These data are needed to properly design the planning target volume (PTV). Methods and Materials: Seventeen patients were studied. Each patient underwent computed tomography (CT) scanning for treatment planning purposes. Subsequently, three CT scans were obtained at approximately 2-week intervals during treatment. The prostate, seminal vesicles, bladder, and rectum were outlined on each CT study. The second through the fourth CT studies were aligned with the first study using a rigid body transformation based on the bony anatomy. The transformation was used to compute the center of mass position and bounding box of each organ in the subsequent studies relative to the first study. Differences in the bounding box limits and center of mass positions between the first and subsequent studies were tabulated and correlated with bladder and rectal volume and positional parameters. Results: The mobility of the CTV was characterized by standard deviations of 0.09 cm (left-right), 0.36 cm (cranial-caudal), and 0.41 cm (anterior-posterior). Prostate mobility was not significantly correlated with bladder volume. However, the mobility of both the prostate and seminal vesicles was very significantly correlated with rectal volume. Bladder and rectal volumes decreased between the pretreatment CT scan and the first on-treatment CT scan, but were constant for all on- treatment CT scans. Conclusion: Margins between the CTV and PTV based on the simple geometric requirement that a point on the edge of the CTV is enclosed by the PTV 95% of the time are 0.7 cm in the lateral and cranial-caudal directions, and 1.1 cm in the anterior-posterior direction. However, minimum dose to the CTV and avoidance of organs at risk are more important considerations when drawing beam apertures. More consistent methods for reproducing prostate position (e.g., empty rectum) and more sophisticated beam aperture optimization are needed to guarantee consistent coverage of the CTV while avoiding organs at risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)661-672
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D image registration
  • Planning target volume
  • Prostate motion
  • Prostate radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiation


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