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PURPOSE: Toxicity dose-response models describe the correlation between dose delivered to an organ and a given toxic endpoint. Duodenal toxicity is a dose limiting factor in the treatment of pancreatic cancer with radiation but the relationship between dose and toxicity in the duodenum is not well understood. While there have been limited studies into duodenal toxicity through investigations of the volume of the organ receiving dose over a specific threshold, both dose-volume and dose-surface histograms lack spatial information about the dose distribution, which may be important in determining normal tissue response. Due to the complex geometry of the duodenum, previous methods for unwrapping tubular organs for spatial modeling of toxicity are insufficient. A geometrically robust method for producing 2D dose surface maps (DSMs), specifically for the duodenum, has been developed and tested in order to characterize the spatial dose distribution. METHODS: The organ contour is defined using Delaunay triangulation. The user selects a start and end coordinate in the structure and a path is found by regulating both length and curvature. This path is discretized and rays are cast from each point on the plane normal to the vector between the previous and the next point on the path and the dose at the closest perimeter point recorded. These angular perimeter slices are "unwrapped" from the edge distal to the pancreas to ensure the high dose region (proximal to the tumor) falls in the centre of the dose map. Gamma analysis is used to quantify the robustness of this method and the effect of overlapping planes. RESULTS: This method was used to extract DSMs for 15 duodena, with one esophagus case to illustrate the application to simpler geometries. Visual comparison indicates that a 30 × 30 map provides sufficient resolution to view gross spatial features of interest. A lookup table is created to store the area (cm2) represented by each pixel in the DSMs in order to allow spatial descriptors in absolute size. The method described in this paper is robust, requires minimal human interaction, has been shown to be generalizable to simpler geometries, and uses readily available commercial software. The difference seen in DSMs due to overlapping planes is large and justifies the need for a solution that removes such planes. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first time 2D dose surface maps have been produced for the duodenum and provide spatial dose distribution information which can be explored to create models that may improve toxicity prediction in treatments for locally advanced pancreatic cancer.

Original publication




Journal article


Med Phys

Publication Date





Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation, Duodenum, Humans, Models, Biological, Radiation Dosage