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1.  Technical aspects of quality assurance in radiation oncology 
The technical aspects of quality assurance (QA) in radiation oncology as practice in the United States will be reviewed and updated in the spirit of offering the experience to the radiation oncology communities in the Asia-Pacific region. The word “technical” is used to express the organisational components or processes and not the materials within the QA program. A comprehensive QA program in radiation oncology will have an official statement declaring the quality plan for effective patient care services it provides in a document. The QA program will include all aspects of patient care: physical, clinical, and medical aspects of the services. The document will describe the organisational structure, responsibilities, checks and procedures, and resources allocated to ensure the successful implementation of the quality of patient management. Regulatory guidelines and guidelines from accreditation agencies should be incorporated in the QA program to ensure compliance. The organisational structure will have a multidisciplinary QA committee that has the authority to evaluate continuously the effectiveness of the QA program to provide prompt corrective recommendations and to request feedback as needed to monitor the response. The continuous monitoring aspects require meetings to be held at regular intervals with the minutes of the meetings officially recorded and documented. To ensure that a QA program is effective, the program itself should be audited for quality at regular intervals at least annually. It has been recognised that the current QA program has not kept abreast with the rapid implementation of new and advanced radiation therapy technologies with the most recent in image-based radiation therapy technology. The societal bodies (ASTRO and AAPM) and federal agency (NCI) acknowledge this inadequacy and have held workshops to address this issue. The challenges for the societal bodies and federal agency are numerous that include (a) the prescriptive methodology used may not be appropriate for currently implemented new technologies, (b) resources are becoming scarce, (c) advanced radiation therapy technologies have been introduced too rapidly, (d) advances in radiation therapy technologies have become too sophisticated and specialised with each therapy modality having its own separate set of equipment, for example its own dose planning software, computer system and dose delivery systems requiring individualised QA procedures. At the present time, industrial engineers are being recruited to assist in devising a methodology that is broad-based and more process-oriented risk-based formulation of QA in radiation oncology.
PMCID: PMC3097727  PMID: 21611011
quality assurance; radiation therapy; treatment planning
2.  Frontiers of cancer care in Asia-Pacific Region 
PMCID: PMC3097738  PMID: 21611008
3.  A review on the clinical implementation of respiratory-gated radiation therapy 
Respiratory-gated treatment techniques have been introduced into the radiation oncology practice to manage target or organ motions. This paper will review the implementation of this type of gated treatment technique where the respiratory cycle is determined using an external marker. The external marker device is placed on the abdominal region between the xyphoid process and the umbilicus of the patient. An infrared camera tracks the motion of the marker to generate a surrogate for the respiratory cycle. The relationship, if any, between the respiratory cycle and the movement of the target can be complex. The four-dimensional computed tomography (4DCT) scanner is used to identify this motion for those patients that meet three requirements for the successful implementation of respiratory-gated treatment technique for radiation therapy. These requirements are (a) the respiratory cycle must be periodic and maintained during treatment, (b) the movement of the target must be related to the respiratory cycle, and (c) the gating window can be set sufficiently large to minimise the overall treatment time or increase the duty cycle and yet small enough to be within the gate. If the respiratory-gated treatment technique is employed, the end-expiration image set is typically used for treatment planning purposes because this image set represents the phase of the respiratory cycle where the anatomical movement is often the least for the longest time. Contouring should account for tumour residual motion, setup uncertainty, and also allow for deviation from the expected respiratory cycle during treatment. Respiratory-gated intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) treatment plans must also be validated prior to treatment. Quality assurance should be performed to check for positional changes and the output in association with the motion-gated technique. To avoid potential treatment errors, radiation therapist (radiographer) should be regularly in-serviced and made aware of the need to invoke the gating feature when prescribed for selected patients.
PMCID: PMC3097646  PMID: 21614265
respiratory motion; motion-gated technique; radiation therapy

Results 1-3 (3)