Evaluation of the systematic error in using 3D dose calculation in scanning beam proton therapy for lung cancer

Heng Li, Wei Liu, Peter Park, Jason Matney, Zhongxing Liao, Joe Chang, Xiaodong Zhang, Yupeng Li, Ronald X. Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to evaluate and understand the systematic error between the planned three-dimensional (3D) dose and the delivered dose to patient in scanning beam proton therapy for lung tumors. Single-field and multifield optimized scanning beam proton therapy plans were generated for ten patients with stage II-III lung cancer with a mix of tumor motion and size. 3D doses in CT datasets for different respiratory phases and the time-weighted average CT, as well as the four-dimensional (4D) doses were computed for both plans. The 3D and 4D dose differences for the targets and different organs at risk were compared using dose-volume histogram (DVH) and voxel-based techniques, and correlated with the extent of tumor motion. The gross tumor volume (GTV) dose was maintained in all 3D and 4D doses, using the internal GTV override technique. The DVH and voxel-based techniques are highly correlated. The mean dose error and the standard deviation of dose error for all target volumes were both less than 1.5% for all but one patient. However, the point dose difference between the 3D and 4D doses was up to 6% for the GTV and greater than 10% for the clinical and planning target volumes. Changes in the 4D and 3D doses were not correlated with tumor motion. The planning technique (single-field or multifield optimized) did not affect the observed systematic error. In conclusion, the dose error in 3D dose calculation varies from patient to patient and does not correlate with lung tumor motion. Therefore, patient-specific evaluation of the 4D dose is important for scanning beam proton therapy for lung tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-56
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of applied clinical medical physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014


  • 4D CT
  • Dose calculation
  • Motion management
  • Pencil beam scanning
  • Proton therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Instrumentation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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