Phys Med. 2020 Oct 7;78:173-178. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmp.2020.09.010. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: The aim was to identify vascular calcification in 4DCT scan of lung cancer patients and establish the association between overall survival (OS) and vascular calcification, as surrogate for vascular health.
METHODS: Vascular calcification within the thoracic cavity were segmented in 334 lung cancer patients treated with stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). This has been done automatically on 4D planning CT and average reconstruction scans. Correlation between cardiac comorbidity and calcification volumes was evaluated for patients with recorded Adult Co-Morbidity Evaluation (n = 303). Associations between the identified calcifications and OS were further investigated.
RESULTS: The volume of calcification from the average scan was significantly lower than from each phase (p < 0.001). The highest level of correlations between cardiac comorbidity and volume of the calcifications were found for one phase representing inhale and two phases representing exhale with the least motion blurring due to respiration (p < 0.005). The volume of the calcifications was subsequently averaged over these three phases. The average of calcification volumes over the three phases (denoted by inhale-exhale) showed the highest likelihood in univariate analysis and was chosen as vascular calcification measure. Cox-model suggested that tumor volume (Hazard Ratio [HR] = 1.46, p < 0.01) and inhale-exhale volume (HR = 1.05, p < 0.05) are independent factors predicting OS after adjusting for age, sex, and performance status.
CONCLUSION: It was feasible to use. It 4DCT scan for identifying thoracic calcifications in lung cancer patients treated with SBRT. Calcification volumes from inhale-exhale phases had the highest correlation with overall cardiac comorbidity and the average of the calcification volume obtained from these phases was an independent predictive factor for OS.