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Patient safety highlights American Association of Physicists in Medicine
Date:7/15/2010

iology at the Yale University School of Medicine, will present at the 52nd meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) in Philadelphia today results that detail how much radiation children are exposed to and how it might be reduced.

Deng and his colleagues examined a common imaging technique known as kVCBCT (for kilo-voltage cone beam computed tomography) used for tumor localization during image-guided radiation therapy. Although kVCBCT is frequently applied nowadays, sometimes daily or more for certain lesions, there are currently no commercially available tools to calculate radiation exposure for kVCBCT scans. Deng and his colleagues used a Monte Carlo simulation code developed specifically for the purpose to monitor exposure in four pediatric patients. They found that kVCBCT imaging delivered "considerably larger doses" to critical organs and bony structures in children, by a factor of 2 to 3 times more than in adults. A typical kVCBCT imaging procedure in children can result in a dose to certain organs that is equivalent to about 5000 chest x-rays, and during a several week course of daily radiation treatments, the imaging procedure may be repeated many times.

"Image guided radiation therapy is the way to go," Deng says, emphasizing that the increased accuracy with imaging makes it possible to eradicate some tumors that may not be curable otherwise. But, he says, it is essential to evaluate and incorporate the doses induced by imaging as part of the treatment plan and to carefully choose an appropriate scanning protocol for kVCBCT, in order to minimize late effects due to unwanted radiation to nearby organs at risk while maximizing cure. Many of these radiation-induced side effects occur several years after irradiation, which may not be a serious concern for the elderly adults but is critical for children.

"Many pediatric patients survive their primary cancers and have a long life ahead of them," says Deng. "T
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Contact: Jason Bardi
jbardi@gmail.com
301-209-3091
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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