Patterns of Utilization and Clinical Adoption of 0.35 MR-Guided Radiation Therapy in the United States — Understanding the Transition to Adaptive, Ultra-Hypofractionated Treatments

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys


Purpose/Objective(s): Magnetic resonance imaging-guided radiation therapy (MRgRT) utilization is rapidly expanding worldwide, driven by advanced capabilities including continuous intrafraction visualization, automatic triggered beam delivery, and on-table adaptive replanning. Our objective was to describe patterns of 0.35T-MRgRT utilization in the United States (US) among early adopters of this novel technology.

Materials/Methods: Anonymized administrative data from all US 0.35T-MRgRT treatment systems were extracted for patients completing treatment from 2014-2020. Detailed treatment information was available for all 0.35T-MR Linac system and some cobalt system patients. Most cobalt patients were included in total only.

Results: 17 systems at 16 centers treated 5,733 patients, delivering 40,171 fractions (fractions unavailable for 1,225 cobalt patients), of which 6,244 (15.5%) were adapted. Thirteen centers (81.3%) had treated for > = 1 year, of which 9 treated > 100 patients/year and 6 treated > 150 patients/year. Ultra-hypofractionation (1-5 fractions) was delivered for 72.9% of all patients. The proportion of fractions adapted in patients receiving ultra-hypofractionation was 28.6%, with an average of 3.2 adapted fractions per course. The most commonly treated tumor types were pancreas (20.7%), liver (16.5%), prostate (12.5%), breast (11.5%), and lung (9.4%), respectively, with significantly increased number of fractions delivered from 2018-2020 compared to 2014-2017 for each (pancreas: 5,161 vs. 1,155; liver: 3,597 vs. 921; prostate: 5,795 vs. 1,398; breast: 2,221 vs. 1,876; lung: 2,589 vs. 660). The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the number of patients was 59.5%, growing from 111 in 2014 to 1,830 in 2020. Ultra-hypofractionation increased from 31.8% of all treated MR-Linac patients in 2014 to 87.0% in 2020 (n = 1,576/1,811). The proportion of adapted fractions in all patients and ultra-hypofractionation patients increased from 0% in the first two years to 24.3% (n = 3,071/12,639) and 33.8% (n = 2,677/7,911) respectively, by the end of 2020. No patient had adaptive treatment in 2014 although adaptive replanning steadily increased over time. For example, in 2020 vs. 2018 the proportion of adaptive fractions was highest for pancreas (60.6% vs. 50.8%), liver (17.8% vs. 9.9%), and lung (17.8% vs. 1.8%) cancers.

Conclusion: This is the first comprehensive study reporting patterns of utilization among early adopters of a 0.35T-MRgRT system in the US. Intrafraction MR guidance, advanced motion management, and increasing adoption of adaptive RT has accelerated a transition to ultra-hypofractionation regimens. MRgRT has been predominantly used to treat abdominal and pelvic tumors, and increasingly with adaptive replanning, which is a radical departure from legacy radiotherapy practices.





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