Comparison of 3 Positioning Techniques for Fractionated High-precision Radiotherapy in an Orthotopic Mouse Model of Pancreatic Cancer

Kampfer, S., Dobiasch, S., Combs, S. E., and Wilkens, J. J. (2022). Comp Med 72, 336-341. doi: 10.30802/AALAS-CM-22-000060


Small-animal irradiators are widely used in oncologic research, and many experiments use mice to mimic radiation treatments in humans. To improve fractionated high-precision irradiation in mice with orthotopic pancreatic tumors, we evaluated 3 positioning methods: no positioning aid, skin marker, and immobilization devices (immobilization masks). We retrospectively evaluated the translation vector needed for optimal tumor alignment (by shifting the mouse in left-right, in cranio-caudal, and in anterior-posterior direction) on cone-beam CT from our small-animal radiotherapy system. Of the 3 methods, the skin marker method yielded the smallest mean translation vector (3.8 mm) and was the most precise method overall for most of the mice. In addition, the skin marker method required supplemental rotation (that is, roll, pitch, and yaw) for optimal tumor alignment only half as often as positioning without a positioning aid. Finally, the skin marker method had the highest scores for the quality of the fusion results. Overall, we preferred the skin marker method over the other 2 positioning methods with regard to optimal treatment planning and radiotherapy in an orthotopic mouse model of pancreatic cancer.