Surface markers for guiding cylindrical diffuser fiber insertion in interstitial photodynamic therapy of head and neck cancer

Emily Oakley, David A. Bellnier, Alan Hutson, Brian Wrazen, Hassan Arshad, Harry Quon, Gal Shafirstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background and Objectives: Image-based treatment planning can be used to compute the delivered light dose during interstitial photodynamic therapy (I-PDT) of locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (LA-HNSCC). The objectives of this work were to evaluate the use of surface fiducial markers and flexible adhesive grids in guiding interstitial placement of laser fibers, and to quantify the impact of discrepancies in fiber location on the expected light dose volume histograms (DVHs). Methods: Seven gel-based phantoms were made to mimic geometries of LA-HNSCC. Clinical flexible grids and fiducial markers were used to guide the insertion of optically transparent catheters, which are used to place cylindrical diffuser fibers within the phantoms. A computed tomography (CT) was used to image the markers and phantoms before and after catheter insertion and to determine the difference between the planned and actual location of the catheters. A finite element method was utilized to compute the light DVHs. Statistical analysis was employed to evaluate the accuracy of fiber placement and to investigate the correlation between the location of the fibers and the calculated DVHs. Results: There was a statistically significant difference (P = 0.018) between all seven phantoms in terms of the mean displacement. There was also statistically significant correlation between DVHs and depth of insertion (P = 0.0027), but not with the lateral displacement (P = 0.3043). The maximum difference between actual and planned DVH was related to the number of fibers (P = 0.0025) and the treatment time. Conclusions: Surface markers and a flexible grid can be used to assist in the administration of a prescribed DVH within 15% of the target dose provided that the treatment fibers are placed within 1.3 cm of the planned depth of insertion in anatomies mimicking LA-HNSCC. The results suggest that the number of cylindrical diffuser fibers and treatment time can impact the delivered DVHs. Lasers Surg. Med. 49:599–608, 2017.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-608
Number of pages10
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • and neck cancer
  • fiducial markers
  • finite element
  • head
  • interstitial photodynamic therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology

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