Extracting the normal lung dose-response curve from clinical DVH data: a possible role for low dose hyper-radiosensitivity, increased radioresistance

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Physics in medicine and biology


In conventionally fractionated radiation therapy for lung cancer, radiation pneumonitis' (RP) dependence on the normal lung dose-volume histogram (DVH) is not well understood. Complication models alternatively make RP a function of a summary statistic, such as mean lung dose (MLD). This work searches over damage profiles, which quantify sub-volume damage as a function of dose. Profiles that achieve best RP predictive accuracy on a clinical dataset are hypothesized to approximate DVH dependence.Step function damage rate profiles R(D) are generated, having discrete steps at several dose points. A range of profiles is sampled by varying the step heights and dose point locations. Normal lung damage is the integral of R(D) with the cumulative DVH. Each profile is used in conjunction with a damage cutoff to predict grade 2 plus (G2+) RP for DVHs from a University of Michigan clinical trial dataset consisting of 89 CFRT patients, of which 17 were diagnosed with G2+ RP.Optimal profiles achieve a modest increase in predictive accuracy--erroneous RP predictions are reduced from 11 (using MLD) to 8. A novel result is that optimal profiles have a similar distinctive shape: enhanced damage contribution from low doses (<20 >Gy), a flat contribution from doses in the range ~20-40 Gy, then a further enhanced contribution from doses above 40 Gy. These features resemble the hyper-radiosensitivity / increased radioresistance (HRS/IRR) observed in some cell survival curves, which can be modeled using Joiner's induced repair model.A novel search strategy is employed, which has the potential to estimate RP dependence on the normal lung DVH. When applied to a clinical dataset, identified profiles share a characteristic shape, which resembles HRS/IRR. This suggests that normal lung may have enhanced sensitivity to low doses, and that this sensitivity can affect RP risk.

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Algorithms; Data Interpretation, Statistical; Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation; Humans; Lung; Radiotherapy, Conformal

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