BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: This study investigates the ability of pre-treatment factors and response markers extracted from standard cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) images to predict the lung density changes induced by radiotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: Density changes in follow-up computed tomography scans were evaluated for 135 NSCLC patients treated with radiotherapy. Early response markers were obtained by analysing changes in lung density in CBCT images acquired during the treatment course. The ability of pre-treatment factors and CBCT markers to predict lung density changes induced by radiotherapy was investigated.
RESULTS: Age and CBCT markers extracted at 10th, 20th, and 30th treatment fraction significantly predicted lung density changes in a multivariable analysis, and a set of response models based on these parameters were established. The correlation coefficient for the models was 0.35, 0.35, and 0.39, when based on the markers obtained at the 10th, 20th, and 30th fraction, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: The study indicates that younger patients without lung tissue reactions early into their treatment course may have minimal radiation induced lung density increase at follow-up. Further investigations are needed to examine the ability of the models to identify patients with low risk of symptomatic toxicity.