Radiation Therapy: Modelling Changes in Tumour Geometry
March 6, 2014

Radiation therapy involves directing beams of radiation at a tumour to kill the cancerous cells and requires a careful balance of maximizing the dose to the tumour while minimizing the dose to the healthy tissues around it. Maintaining this balance is complicated by the fact that tumours change size and shrink during the weeks-long course of treatment. To address this issue, Techna Affiliated Faculty Dr. Mohammad Islam and colleagues have developed a computer model that simulates tumour shrinkage in cervical cancer.
The model was developed by examining detailed weekly magnetic resonance (MR) imaging scans of patients being treated for cervical cancer. While images such as these could be used by clinicians to adjust delivery of radiation to account for changing tumour volume, repeated MR images are expensive to acquire. The computer simulation can predict the expected changes in tumour volume, allowing modifications in the radiation delivery to be planned in advance, in combination with less frequent imaging to confirm reductions in tumour size.
Adapting the treatment delivery to the changing shape of the tumour will lead to better outcomes for patients by sparing more of the surrounding healthy tissue. This model could also be used as a benchmark for clinicians to evaluate if the tumour is responding therapy, or whether an alternate patient-specific approach is required.
This work was supported by the Ontario Research Fund, Mitacs and The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. Image credit: Radiology Research and Practice. 2012; 2012: 219546.
A stochastic model for tumor geometry evolution during radiation therapy in cervical cancer. Liu Y, Chan TC, Lee CG, Cho YB, Islam MK. Medical Physics. 2014 February.
Source: NRx - February 2014
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