Document Type : Original Research


1 Department of Medical Physics, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Royal Adelaide Hospital, Department of Medical Physics, Adelaide, Australia

3 Department of Radiation Oncology, Imam Reza Hospital, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

4 Medical Physics Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran



Background: The evaluation of treatment-associated errors is important in the radiotherapy process, particularly those resulting related to patient setup.
Objective: This research aimed to assess the interfractional setup errors and determine the Clinical Target Volume to Planning Target Volume (CTV to PTV) margin in patients undergoing 3-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy (3DCRT) for head and neck cancer by means of electronic portal imaging device.
Material and Methods: In this analytical study, 300 portal images were acquired from 50 patients undergoing 3DCRT for head and neck cancer. Using the portal images of Lateral (LAT) and Antero-Posterior (AP) fields, population systematic (∑) and random (σ) errors were obtained in the lateral, longitudinal, and vertical directions. Finally, based on the International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements (ICRU) Report 62’s, Stroom’s and Van Herk’s methods, Planning target volume margins were determined.
Results: The translational shift ranges were 0-8.1 mm in the ML, 0-9 mm in the SI (AP), 0-8.8 mm in the SI (LAT), and 0-10 mm in the AP directions. The population systematic and random errors were respectively 3.230, 2.753, and 2.997 mm, and 1.476, 1.853, and 1.715 mm in X, Y, and Z directions. The calculated PTV margins using the ICRU-62, Stroom’s, and Van Herk’s formulae were ranging from 3.236-3.551, 6.605-7.493, and 7.932-9.108 mm, respectively. 
Conclusion: A PTV margin of 7.5-9.5 mm seems safe for ensuring adequate treatment volume coverage. In addition, the EPID is an effective equipment for verifying patient positioning and reducing treatment setup errors.