Treatment of lung cancer with conventional radiation therapy is
associated with suboptimal local tumor control and poor long-term
survival. Poor local tumor control may result from inaccurate tumor
targeting, failure to satisfactorily conform to dose distribution with
the target volume, and/or inadequate radiation doses. Three-dimensional
treatment planning is a radiotherapy technique that provides more
accurate dose targeting via the direct transfer of three-dimensional
anatomic information from diagnostic scans into the planning process.
This technology can assist treatment planning by providing dose-volume
histograms, an estimation of normal tissue complication probabilities,
and facilitate dose escalation. Preliminary clinical studies suggest
that this is a feasible approach worthy of additional study. The
three-dimensional tools provide new opportunities to better understand
radiation-induced changes in pulmonary function.