Fifteen patients with rectal cancer were treated with neoadjuvant short-course radiotherapy, 5x5 Gy, according to an online adaptive workflow on a 1.5T MR-linac. Per patient, 26 3D T2 weighted MRIs were made; one reference scan preceding treatment and five scans per treatment fraction. The primary tumor was delineated on each scan as gross tumor volume (GTV). Target coverage margins were assessed by isotropically expanding the reference GTV until more than 95% of the voxels of the sequential GTVs were covered. A margin with a coverage probability threshold of 90% was defined as adequate. Intra- and interfraction margins to cope with the movement of the GTV in the period between scans were calculated to indicate the target volume margins. Furthermore, the margin needed to cover GTV movement was calculated for different time intervals.
This study assessed the margins needed to cover tumor intrafraction motion during an MR-guided radiotherapy (MRgRT) dose-escalation strategy in intermediate risk rectal cancer.
The required margins to cover inter- and intrafraction GTV motion were 17 mm and 6 mm, respectively. Analysis based on time intervals between scans showed smaller margins were needed for adequate GTV coverage as time intervals became shorter, with a 4 mm margin required for a procedure of 15 minutes or less.
The shorter the treatment time, the smaller the margins needed to cover for the GTV movement during an online adaptive MRgRT dose-escalation strategy for intermediate risk rectal cancer. When time intervals between replanning and the end of dose delivery could be reduced to 15 minutes, a 4 mm margin would allow adequate target coverage.