Deep inspiration breath-hold technique for lung tumors: The potential value of target immobilization and reduced lung density in dose escalation

Joseph Hanley, Marc M. Debois, Dennis Mah, Gikas S. Mageras, Adam Raben, Kenneth Rosenzweig, Borys Mychalczak, Lawrence H. Schwartz, Paul J. Gloeggler, Wendell Lutz, C. Clifton Ling, Steven A. Leibel, Zvi Fuks, Gerald J. Kutcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

526 Scopus citations


Purpose/Objective: This study evaluates the dosimetric benefits and feasibility of a deep inspiration breath-hold (DIBH) technique in the treatment of lung tumors. The technique has two distinct features-deep inspiration, which reduces lung density, and breath-hold, which immobilizes lung tumors, thereby allowing for reduced margins. Both of these properties can potentially reduce the amount of normal lung tissue in the high-dose region, thus reducing morbidity and improving the possibility of dose escalation.Methods and Materials: Five patients treated for non-small cell lung carcinoma (Stage IIA-IIIB) received computed tomography (CT) scans under 4 respiration conditions: free-breathing, DIBH, shallow inspiration breath-hold, and shallow expiration breath-hold. The free-breathing and DIBH scans were used to generate 3-dimensional conformal treatment plans for comparison, while the shallow inspiration and expiration scans determined the extent of tumor motion under free-breathing conditions. To acquire the breath-hold scans, the patients are brought to reproducible respiration levels using spirometry, and for DIBH, modified slow vital capacity maneuvers. Planning target volumes (PTVs) for free-breathing plans included a margin for setup error (0.75 cm) plus a margin equal to the extent of tumor motion due to respiration (1-2 cm). Planning target volumes for DIBH plans included the same margin for setup error, with a reduced margin for residual uncertainty in tumor position (0.2-0.5 cm) as determined from repeat fluoroscopic movies. To simulate the effects of respiration-gated treatments and estimate the role of target immobilization alone (i.e., without the benefit of reduced lung density), a third plan is generated from the free-breathing scan using a PTV with the same margins as for DIBH plans.Results: The treatment plan comparison suggests that, on average, the DIBH technique can reduce the volume of lung receiving more than 25 Gy by 30% compared to free-breathing plans, while respiration gating can reduce the volume by 18%. The DIBH maneuver was found to be highly reproducible, with intra breath-hold reproducibility of 1.0 (± 0.9) mm and inter breath-hold reproducibility of 2.5 (± 1.6) mm, as determined from diaphragm position. Patients were able to perform 10-13 breath-holds in one session, with a comfortable breath-hold duration of 12-16 s.Conclusion: Patients tolerate DIBH maneuvers well and can perform them in a highly reproducible fashion. Compared to conventional free-breathing treatment, the DIBH technique benefits from reduced margins, as a result of the suppressed target motion, as well as a decreased lung density; both contribute to moving normal lung tissue out of the high-dose region. Because less normal lung tissue is irradiated to high dose, the possibility for dose escalation is significantly improved. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-611
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Breath-hold
  • Lung carcinoma
  • Respiration gating
  • Spirometry


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