Rectal Filling at Planning Does Not Predict Stability of the Prostate Gland during a Course of Radical Radiotherapy if Patients with Large Rectal Filling are Re-imaged

A. L. Stillie, T. Kron, C. Fox, Alan Herschtal, Annette Haworth, A. Thompson, R. Owen, K. H. Tai, G. Duchesne, Farshad Foroudi

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: It has been suggested that large rectal filling is associated with an increased risk of prostate motion in radiotherapy. The aim of the present study was to determine if there is a correlation between rectal distension on planning computed tomography and the intrafraction and interfraction stability of the prostate gland during a course of radical radiotherapy for prostate cancer if a protocol was used to rescan patients with excessive rectal diameter during planning. Materials and methods: The computed tomography planning scans of 89 patients with adenocarcinoma of the prostate treated with conformal radiotherapy were reviewed. All patients had three gold seed fiducial markers implanted into the prostate before planning computed tomography. About one in five patients had repeat computed tomography because their rectum was judged to be too large at the time of the first planning computed tomography. Rectal distension was assessed on planning computed tomography using outlines following European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer guidelines by measuring the rectal volume, the average cross-sectional area and the mean anterior-posterior diameter of the rectum. Daily kV images were obtained before and after treatment delivery to determine positional matching of the fiducial markers in the superior-inferior, anterior-posterior and right-left dimensions. Results: In total, 2860 pre- and post-treatment daily kV image pairs were obtained of 89 patients (average 32.1 image pairs per patient). The median rectal cross-sectional area was 7.3 cm2 (range 2.8-17.1), the median rectal volume was 54.8 cm3 (range 20.9-128.2), and the median anterior-posterior rectal diameter was 3.03 cm (range 1.58-8.30). Unifactor linear regression models showed no statistically significant relationship between intra- and interfraction prostate stability and rectal volume on planning computed tomography. Conclusions: No statistically significant relationship between rectal distension on planning computed tomography and the intra- and interfraction stability of the prostate gland was identified if patients with a large rectal volume were rescanned for planning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)760-767
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Oncology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Interfraction stability
  • intrafraction stability
  • prostate cancer
  • radiotherapy treatment planning
  • rectal distension

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