The importance of verification CT-QA scans in patients treated with IMPT for head and neck cancers

D. Evans, H. Harper, Petersen, S. Harmsen, Anand, Hunzeker, C. Deiter, Heather Schultz, Krishan R. Jethwa, Scott C. Lester, David M. Routman, Daniel J. Ma, Yolanda I. Garces, Michelle A. Neben-Wittich, Nadia N. Laack, Chris J. Beltran, Samir H. Patel, Lisa A. McGee, Jean Claude M. Rwigema, Daniel W. MundyRobert L. Foote

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To understand how verification computed tomography-quality assurance (CT-QA) scans influenced clinical decision-making to replan patients with head and neck cancer and identify predictors for replanning to guide intensity-modulated proton therapy (IMPT) clinical practice. Patients and Methods: We performed a quality-improvement study by prospectively collecting data on 160 consecutive patients with head and neck cancer treated using spot-scanning IMPT who underwent weekly verification CT-QA scans. Kaplan-Meier estimates were used to determine the cumulative probability of a replan by week. Predictors for replanning were determined with univariate (UVA) and multivariate (MVA) Cox model hazard ratios (HRs). Logistic regression was used to determine odds ratios (ORs). P,.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: Of the 160 patients, 79 (49.4%) had verification CT-QA scans, which prompted a replan. The cumulative probability of a replan by week 1 was 13.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 8.82-18.9), week 2, 25.0% (95% CI, 18.0-31.4), week 3, 33.1% (95% CI, 25.4-40.0), week 4, 45.6% (95% CI, 37.3-52.8), and week 5 and 6, 49.4% (95% CI, 41.0-56.6). Predictors for replanning were sinonasal disease site (UVA: HR, 1.82, P ¼.04; MVA: HR, 3.64, P ¼.03), advanced stage disease (UVA: HR, 4.68, P,.01; MVA: HR, 3.10, P,.05), dose. 60 Gy equivalent (GyE; relative biologic effectiveness, 1.1) (UVA: HR, 1.99, P,.01; MVA: HR, 2.20, P,.01), primary disease (UVA: HR, 2.00 versus recurrent, P ¼.01; MVA: HR, 2.46, P ¼.01), concurrent chemotherapy (UVA: HR, 2.05, P,.01; MVA: not statistically significant [NS]), definitive intent treatment (UVA: HR, 1.70 versus adjuvant, P,.02; MVA: NS), bilateral neck treatment (UVA: HR, 2.07, P ¼.03; MVA: NS), and greater number of beams (5 beam UVA: HR, 5.55 versus 1 or 2 beams, P,.02; MVA: NS). Maximal weight change from baseline was associated with higher odds of a replan (≥3 kg: OR, 1.97, P ¼.04; ≥ 5 kg: OR, 2.13, P ¼.02). Conclusions: Weekly verification CT-QA scans frequently influenced clinical decision-making to replan. Additional studies that evaluate the practice of monitoring IMPT-treated patients with weekly CT-QA scans and whether that improves clinical outcomes are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-53
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Particle Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021


  • CT quality assurance
  • CT verification
  • Head
  • IMPT
  • Neck cancer
  • Proton therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'The importance of verification CT-QA scans in patients treated with IMPT for head and neck cancers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this