Purpose: Currently, several active clinical trials of functional lung avoidance radiation therapy using different imaging modalities for ventilation or perfusion are underway. Patients with lung cancer often show ventilation-perfusion mismatch, whereas the significance of dose-function metric remains unclear. The aim of the present study was to compare dose-ventilation metrics with dose-perfusion metrics for radiation therapy plan evaluation. Methods and Materials: Pretreatment 4-dimensional computed tomography and 99mTc-macroaggregated albumin single-photon emission computed tomography perfusion images of 60 patients with lung cancer treated with radiation therapy were analyzed. Ventilation images were created using the deformable image registration of 4-dimensional computed tomography image sets and image analysis for regional volume changes as a surrogate for ventilation. Ventilation and perfusion images were converted into percentile distribution images. Analyses included Pearson's correlation coefficient and comparison of agreements between the following dose-ventilation and dose-perfusion metrics: functional mean lung dose and functional percent lung function receiving 5, 10, 20, 30, and 40 Gy (fV5, fV10, fV20, fV30, and fV40, respectively). Results: Overall, the dose-ventilation metrics were greater than the dose-perfusion metrics (ie, fV20, 26.3% ± 9.9% vs 23.9% ± 9.8%). Correlations between the dose-ventilation and dose-perfusion metrics were strong (range, r = 0.94-0.97), whereas the agreements widely varied among patients, with differences as large as 6.6 Gy for functional mean lung dose and 11.1% for fV20. Paired t test indicated that the dose-ventilation and dose-perfusion metrics were significantly different. Conclusions: Strong correlations were present between the dose-ventilation and dose-perfusion metrics. However, the agreement between the dose-ventilation and dose-perfusion metrics widely varied among patients, suggesting that ventilation-based radiation therapy plan evaluation may not be comparable to that based on perfusion. Future studies should elucidate the correlation of dose-function metrics with clinical pulmonary toxicity metrics.
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