Research Questions

Image-guided evaluation of the late effects of therapeutic childhood radiation

Parents of children who receive radiation for cancer treatment want to know about the long term effects of radiation on growth and development; robust data to answer these important questions are lacking. To address these questions, serial standard of care imaging could be collected from children undergoing radiation therapy at baseline and in followup. Using RTSTRUCT data in DICOM format, radiation dose to tumor volumes and critical structures (such at the hippocampi, LAD, etc.) can be correlated with long term changes observed on followup imaging and in quantitative outcome measures such as neurocognitive function, PFTs, echocardiograms, etc. to determine the relationship between radiation dose to critical structures and long term toxicity. Such RTSTRUCT and imaging data could be collected at the TCIA in collaboration with IROC and/or COG and compared with imaging atlases of unirradiated children to quantify the effect of radiation on growth and development.

How will your idea make a difference

Improved understanding of the relationship between radiation dose and long term toxicity, which is increasingly important as more children survive cancer, will first provide better information for families of children undergoing therapeutic radiation. This knowledge will also allow radiation oncologists to design treatment plans that better spare critical structures to further reduce long term treatment toxicity.


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Idea No. 957