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Volume 22, Number 5, 2017

Setup uncertainties and PTV margins at different anatomical levels in intensity modulated radiotherapy for nasopharyngeal cancer

Milan Anjanappa, Malu Rafi, Saju Bhasi, Rejnish Kumar,
Kainickal Cessal Thommachan, Tapesh B



To determine the systematic error (), random error (σ) and derive PTV margin at different levels of the target volumes in Nasopharyngeal Cancer (NPC).

Materials and methods

A retrospective offline review was done for patients who underwent IMRT for NPC from June 2015 to May 2016 at our institution.

Alternate day kV images were matched with digitally reconstructed radiographs to know the setup errors. All radiographs were matched at three levels – the clivus, third cervical (C3) and sixth cervical (C6) vertebra. The shifts in positions along the vertical, longitudinal and lateral axes were noted and the and σ at three levels were calculated. PTV margins were derived using van Herk's formula.


Twenty patients and 300 pairs of orthogonal portal films were reviewed. The for the clivus, C3 and C6 along vertical, longitudinal and lateral directions were 1.6 vs. 1.8 vs. 2 mm; 1.2 vs. 1.4 vs. 1.4 mm and 0.9 vs. 1.6 and 2.3 mm, respectively. Similarly, the random errors were 1.1 vs. 1.4 vs. 1.8 mm; 1.1 vs. 1.2 vs. 1.2 mm and 1.2 vs. 1.3 vs. 1.6 mm. The PTV margin at the clivus was 4.4 mm along the vertical, 4 mm along the longitudinal direction and 3.2 m in the lateral direction. At the C3 level, it was 5.5 mm in the vertical, 5 mm in the lateral direction and 4.4 mm in the longitudinal direction. At the C6 level, it was 6.4 mm in the vertical, 6.9 mm in the lateral direction and 4.4 mm in the longitudinal direction.


A differential margin along different levels of target may be necessary to adequately cover the target.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2017; 22(5) : 396-401

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