PURPOSE: Large interindividual variations in volume regression of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are observable on standard cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) during fractionated radiation therapy. Here, a method for automated assessment of tumor volume regression is presented and its potential use in response adapted personalized radiation therapy is evaluated empirically. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Automated deformable registration with calculation of the Jacobian determinant was applied to serial CBCT scans in a series of 99 patients with NSCLC. Tumor volume at the end of treatment was estimated on the basis of the first one third and two thirds of the scans. The concordance between estimated and actual relative volume at the end of radiation therapy was quantified by Pearson's correlation coefficient. On the basis of the estimated relative volume, the patients were stratified into 2 groups having volume regressions below or above the population median value. Kaplan-Meier plots of locoregional disease-free rate and overall survival in the 2 groups were used to evaluate the predictive value of tumor regression during treatment. Cox proportional hazards model was used to adjust for other clinical characteristics. RESULTS: Automatic measurement of the tumor regression from standard CBCT images was feasible. Pearson's correlation coefficient between manual and automatic measurement was 0.86 in a sample of 9 patients. Most patients experienced tumor volume regression, and this could be quantified early into the treatment course. Interestingly, patients with pronounced volume regression had worse locoregional tumor control and overall survival. This was significant on patient with non-adenocarcinoma histology. CONCLUSIONS: Evaluation of routinely acquired CBCT images during radiation therapy provides biological information on the specific tumor. This could potentially form the basis for personalized response adaptive therapy.
International Journal of Radiation: Oncology - Biology - Physics, 2014, Vol 89, Issue 4, p. 916-923