The impact of restricted length of treatment field and anthropometric factors on selection of head and neck cancer patients for treatment on the MR-Linac

Head and Neck Cancer
21/05/2020

Ng-Cheng-Hin B, et al. Br J Radiol 2020.

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: This study investigates the impact of a restricted craniocaudal (CC) field length of <20 cm on the selection of head and neck cancer (HNC) patients who can be treated on the MR-Linac using a single isocentre technique. We also assess the effects of anthropometric factors and the neck position on the CC field length.

METHODS: 110 HNC patients who underwent radical primary or adjuvant radiotherapy were retrospectively analysed. We assessed the proportion of treatment fields with a CC length of <20 cm and the effects of gender, height, hyo-sternal neck length (distance from superior surface of hyoid to sternal notch measured on the coronal reconstruction of the planning CT) and neck position on CC length.

RESULTS: 95% of HNC patients had a CC field length <20 cm. Female patients showed a significantly shorter median CC length than male patients in both extended (p = 0.0003) and neutral (p = 0.008) neck positions. Neck position influenced the median CC length with neutral neck being significantly shorter than extended neck (p = 0.0119). Patient height and hyo-sternal neck length showed positive correlation with the CC length, with neck length in neutral position having the strongest correlation (r = 0.65, p = 0.0001 and r = 0.63, p < 0.0001, respectively for extended neck; r = 0.55, p = 0.0070 and r = 0.80, p < 0.0001, respectively for neutral neck). A hyo-sternal neck length of <14.6 cm predicted a CC length of <20 cm in neutral neck position.

CONCLUSION: The majority of patients with HNC at the Royal Marsden Hospital have anthropometric features compatible with their being treated on the MR-Linac using a single isocentre technique. The absolute CC field size may vary according to primary tumour site, patient factors and neck position. A hyo-sternal neck length cut-off of 14.6 cm in the neutral neck position can be used as a surrogate marker for suitability of treatment on MR-Linac.


ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: This paper highlights the potential impact of a restricted CC field in HNC patient selection for the MR-Linac treatment. This is the first report to suggest the use of neck length as a surrogate marker for suitability of treatment on the MR-Linac.