Demonstrating the benefits of corrective intraoperative feedback in improving the quality of duodenal hydrogel spacer placement

Hamed Hooshangnejad, Sarah Han-Oh, Eun Ji Shin, Amol Narang, Avani Dholakia Rao, Junghoon Lee, Todd McNutt, Chen Hu, John Wong, Kai Ding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death with a 10% 5-year overall survival rate (OS). Radiation therapy (RT) in addition to dose escalation improves the outcome by significantly increasing the OS at 2 and 3 years but is hindered by the toxicity of the duodenum. Our group showed that the insertion of hydrogel spacer reduces duodenal toxicity, but the complex anatomy and the demanding procedure make the benefits highly uncertain. Here, we investigated the feasibility of augmenting the workflow with intraoperative feedback to reduce the adverse effects of the uncertainties. Materials and Methods: We simulated three scenarios of the virtual spacer for four cadavers with two types of gross tumor volume (GTV) (small and large); first, the ideal injection; second, the nonideal injection that incorporates common spacer placement uncertainties; and third, the corrective injection that uses the simulation result from nonideal injection and is designed to compensate for the effect of uncertainties. We considered two common uncertainties: (1) “Narrowing” is defined as the injection of smaller spacer volume than planned. (2) “Missing part” is defined as failure to inject spacer in the ascending section of the duodenum. A total of 32 stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) plans (33 Gy in 5 fractions) were designed, for four cadavers, two GTV sizes, and two types of uncertainties. The preinjection scenario for each case was compared with three scenarios of virtual spacer placement from the dosimetric and geometric points of view. Results: We found that the overlapping PTV space with the duodenum is an informative quantity for determining the effective location of the spacer. The ideal spacer distribution reduced the duodenal V33Gy for small and large GTV to less than 0.3 and 0.1cc, from an average of 3.3cc, and 1.2cc for the preinjection scenario. However, spacer placement uncertainties reduced the efficacy of the spacer in sparing the duodenum (duodenal V33Gy: 1.3 and 0.4cc). The separation between duodenum and GTV decreased by an average of 5.3 and 4.6 mm. The corrective feedback can effectively bring back the expected benefits from the ideal location of the spacer (averaged V33Gy of 0.4 and 0.1cc). Conclusions: An informative feedback metric was introduced and used to mitigate the effect of spacer placement uncertainties and maximize the benefits of the EUS-guided procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4794-4803
Number of pages10
JournalMedical physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • FEMOSSA duodenal virtual spacer
  • spacer-enabled pancreatic cancer radiotherapy
  • virtual spacer corrective feedback

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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