An integrated system for clinical treatment verification of HDR prostate brachytherapy combining source tracking with pretreatment imaging

Published:September 22, 2017DOI:



      High-dose-rate (HDR) prostate brachytherapy treatment is usually delivered in one or a few large dose fractions. Poor execution of a planned treatment could have significant clinical impact, as high doses are delivered in seconds, and mistakes in an individual fraction cannot be easily rectified. Given that most potential errors in HDR brachytherapy ultimately lead to a geographical miss, a more direct approach to verification of correct treatment delivery is to directly monitor the position of the source throughout the treatment. In this work, we report on the clinical implementation of our treatment verification system that uniquely combines the 2D source-tracking capability with 2D pretreatment imaging, using a single flat panel detector (FPD).

      Methods and Materials

      The clinical brachytherapy treatment couch was modified to allow integration of the FPD into the couch. This enabled the patient to be set up in the brachytherapy bunker in a position that closely matched that at treatment planning imaging. An anteroposterior image was acquired of the patient immediately before treatment delivery and was assessed by the Radiation Oncologist online, to reestablish the positions of the catheters relative to the prostate. Assessment of catheter positions was performed in the left-right and superior-inferior directions along the entire catheter length and throughout the treatment volume. Source tracking was then performed during treatment delivery, and the measured position of the source dwells were directly compared to the treatment plan for verification.


      The treatment verification system was integrated into the clinical environment without significant change to workflow. Two patient cases are presented in this work to provide clinical examples of this system, which is now in routine use for all patient treatments in our clinic. The catheter positions were visualized relative to the prostate, immediately before treatment delivery. For one of the patient cases presented in this work, they agreed with the treatment plan on average by 1.5 mm and were identifiable as a predominantly inferior shift. The source tracking was performed during treatment delivery, and for the same case, the mean deviation from the planned dwell positions was 1.9 mm (max = 4.9 mm) for 280 positions across all catheters.


      We have implemented our noninvasive treatment verification system based on an FPD in the clinical environment. The device is integrated into a patient treatment couch, and the process is now included in the routine clinical treatment procedure with minor impact on workflow. The system which combines both 2D pretreatment imaging and HDR 2D source tracking provides a range of information that can be used for comprehensive treatment verification. The system has the potential to meaningfully improve safety standards by allowing widespread adoption of routine treatment verification in HDR brachytherapy.


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