Simultaneous tumor and surrogate motion tracking with dynamic MRI for radiation therapy planning

Seyoun Park, Rana Farah, Steven M. Shea, Erik Tryggestad, Russell Hales, Junghoon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Respiration-induced tumor motion is a major obstacle for achieving high-precision radiotherapy of cancers in the thoracic and abdominal regions. Surrogate-based estimation and tracking methods are commonly used in radiotherapy, but with limited understanding of quantified correlation to tumor motion. In this study, we propose a method to simultaneously track the lung tumor and external surrogates to evaluate their spatial correlation in a quantitative way using dynamic MRI, which allows real-time acquisition without ionizing radiation exposure. To capture the lung and whole tumor, four MRI-compatible fiducials are placed on the patient's chest and upper abdomen. Two different types of acquisitions are performed in the sagittal orientation including multi-slice 2D cine MRIs to reconstruct 4D-MRI and two-slice 2D cine MRIs to simultaneously track the tumor and fiducials. A phase-binned 4D-MRI is first reconstructed from multi-slice MR images using body area as a respiratory surrogate and groupwise registration. The 4D-MRI provides 3D template volumes for different breathing phases. 3D tumor position is calculated by 3D-2D template matching in which 3D tumor templates in the 4D-MRI reconstruction and the 2D cine MRIs from the two-slice tracking dataset are registered. 3D trajectories of the external surrogates are derived via matching a 3D geometrical model of the fiducials to their segmentations on the 2D cine MRIs. We tested our method on ten lung cancer patients. Using a correlation analysis, the 3D tumor trajectory demonstrates a noticeable phase mismatch and significant cycle-to-cycle motion variation, while the external surrogate was not sensitive enough to capture such variations. Additionally, there was significant phase mismatch between surrogate signals obtained from the fiducials at different locations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number025015
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • dynamic MRI
  • lung tumor motion
  • radiotherapy
  • tumor tracking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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