Developing an adaptive radiation therapy strategy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Winky Wing Ki Fung, Wing Cheung Vincent Wu, Peter Man Lung Teo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Adaptive radiotherapy (ART) has recently been introduced to restore the planned dose distribution by accounting for the anatomic changes during treatment. By quantifying the anatomic changes in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients, this study aimed to establish an ART strategy for NPC cases. A total of 30 NPC patients treated with helical tomotherapy were recruited. In the pretreatment megavoltage CT images, the anatomic changes of the posterolateral wall of nasopharynx (P-NP), neck region and parotid glands were measured and assessed. One-way repeated measure ANOVA was employed to define threshold(s) at any time-point. The presence of a threshold(s) would indicate significant anatomical change(s) such that replanning should be suggested. A pragmatic schedule for ART was established by evaluating the threshold for each parameter. Results showed the P-NP, parotid gland and neck volumes demonstrated significant regressions over time. Respectively, the mean loss rates were 0.99, 1.35, and 0.39 %/day, and the mean volume losses were 35.70, 47.54 and 11.91% (all P < 0.001). The parotid gland shifted medially and superiorly over time by a mean of 0.34 and 0.24 cm, respectively (all P < 0.001). The neck region showed non-rigid posterior displacement, which increased from upper to lower neck. According to the threshold occurrences, three replans at 9th, 19th and 29th fractions were proposed. This ART strategy was able to accommodate the dosimetric consequences due to anatomic deviation over the treatment course. It is clinically feasible and would be recommended for centers where an adaptive planning system was not yet available. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Japan Radiation Research Society and Japanese Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-304
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Radiation Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Adaptive radiotherapy
  • Nasopharyngeal carcinoma
  • Replanning schedule
  • Tomotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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