The validity of surgical clips as a radiographic surrogate for the lumpectomy cavity in image-guided accelerated partial breast irradiation

Daniel W. Weed, Di Yan, Alvaro A. Martinez, Frank A. Vicini, T. J. Wilkinson, John Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose We hypothesize that surgical clips placed in the biopsy cavity during lumpectomy can be used as radiographic markers to facilitate image-guided external beam accelerated partial breast irradiation. Methods and materials We evaluated 28 patients with surgically placed clips in the lumpectomy cavity and two CT scans on different days. To establish whether the clips remain predictive of the lumpectomy cavity throughout therapy, we analyzed the motion of both cavities with repeat volumetric CT scans. The three-dimensional (3D) locations of each lumpectomy cavity and the associated clips were defined as individual regions of interest (ROIs). A single point of interest (POI) was defined for each ROI. The calculated movements of the lumpectomy cavity POIs between different scans were compared to those of the clip POIs. The second CT data set was then moved in accordance to the calculated clip POI's movement. The volume of the (second) lumpectomy cavity associated with the second scan outside of the (first) cavity of the first scan was measured. In addition, the required amount of a radial margin expansion around the first lumpectomy cavity to ensure coverage of the second lumpectomy cavity both before and after moving the second lumpectomy according to the clip POI movement was calculated. Results The two CT scans were obtained on average 27 days apart, and the mean lumpectomy size decreased from 35 to 16 cc. The clip and lumpectomy cavity POIs moved a mean of 3 mm along the three principal Cartesian axes. In moving the second lumpectomy cavity according to the clip POI displacement from its original position, the volume of the second lumpectomy cavity outside of the volume of the first decreased from 2.6 cc to 1.0 cc after correction, and the required radial margin on the first lumpectomy cavity to include the second lumpectomy cavity decreased from 5.5 mm vs. 3.8 mm. Conclusion The surgically placed clips after lumpectomy are strong radiographic surrogates for the biopsy cavity. If the clips were used to guide accelerated partial breast irradiation, a planning target volume margin of the order of 5 mm could be used, significantly smaller than the 10-mm margin currently employed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-492
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Accelerated breast irradiation
  • Image guidance
  • Partial breast irradiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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