Quantification of radiation-induced regional lung injury with perfusion imaging.
PURPOSE: To better understand the dose and time dependence of radiation therapy (RT)-induced regional lung dysfunction as assessed by changes in regional lung perfusion. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Patients who were to receive RT for tumors in and around the thorax, wherein portions of healthy lung would be incidentally irradiated, were prospectively studied. Regional function was assessed pre- and post-RT with single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) lung perfusion scans, obtained following the intravenous administration of approximately 4 mCi of technetium-99m macroaggregated albumin. Pre-RT computed tomography (CT) scans were used to calculate the three-dimensional (3D) dose distribution, reflecting tissue density inhomogeneity corrections. Each SPECT scan was correlated with the pre-RT CT scan, and the 3D dose distribution. Changes in regional lung perfusion were correlated with regional RT dose, at various time intervals following radiation. RESULTS: The data from 20 patients (7 breast cancer, 5 lymphoma, 1 esophagus, 1 sarcoma, and 6 lung cancer) have been analyzed. Patients with gross intrathoracic lung cancers causing obstruction of regional pulmonary arteries were not included. For most patients, there is a statistically significant dose-dependent reduction in regional blood flow at all time points following radiation. While a time dependence is suggested in the high dose range, the limited amount of data prevents meaningful statistical evaluation. CONCLUSIONS: Radiation therapy-induced regional lung dysfunction occurs in a dose-dependent manner and develops within 3-6 months following radiation. In contrast to classical "sigmoid" dose-response curves, described mainly for changes following whole lung irradiation, these data suggest a more gradual relationship between regional dysfunction and RT dose. Retraction of irradiated lung with secondary movement of unirradiated lung into the "3D-defined irradiated volume" may have introduced inaccuracies into this analysis. Additional studies are currently underway to assess this possibility and better refine this dose-response curve. Studies are underway to determine if changes in assessments of whole lung function, such as pulmonary function tests, can be predicted by summing the regional changes observed.
Marks, LB; Munley, MT; Spencer, DP; Sherouse, GW; Bentel, GC; Hoppenworth, J; Chew, M; Jaszczak, RJ; Coleman, RE; Prosnitz, LR
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