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Volume 19, Number 6, 2014

Estimation of optimal matching position for orthogonal kV setup images and minimal setup margins in radiotherapy of whole breast and lymph node areas

Marko Laaksomaa, Mika Kapanen, Tanja Skyttä, Seppo Peltola, Simo Hyödynmaa, Pirkko-Liisa Kellokumpu-Lehtinen



The aim was to find an optimal setup image matching position and minimal setup margins to maximally spare the organs at risk in breast radiotherapy.


Radiotherapy of breast cancer is a routine task but has many challenges. We investigated residual position errors in whole breast radiotherapy when orthogonal setup images were matched to different bony landmarks.

Materials and methods

A total of 1111 orthogonal setup image pairs and tangential field images were analyzed retrospectively for 50 consecutive patients. Residual errors in the treatment field images were determined by matching the orthogonal setup images to the vertebrae, sternum, ribs and their compromises. The most important region was the chest wall as it is crucial for the dose delivered to the heart and the ipsilateral lung. Inter-observer variation in online image matching was investigated.


The best general image matching position was the compromise of the vertebrae, ribs and sternum, while the worst position was the vertebrae alone (p ≤ 0.03). The setup margins required for the chest wall varied from 4.3 mm to 5.5 mm in the lung direction while in the superior–inferior (SI) direction the margins varied from 5.1 mm to 7.6 mm. The inter-observer variation increased the minimal margins by approximately 1 mm. The margin of the lymph node areas should be at least 4.8 mm.


Setup margins can be reduced by proper selection of a matching position for the orthogonal setup images. To retain the minimal margins sufficient, systematic error of the chest wall should not exceed 4 mm in the tangential field image.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2014; 19(6) : 369-375

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