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Evaluation of seminal vesicle volume variability in patients receiving radiotherapy to the prostate

  • Rhianna Bairstow (a1), Michelle Cain (a2), Phil Reynolds (a2) and Pete Bridge (a1)



Prostate positional variability has been widely explored with seminal vesicle (SV) variability, coming into the forefront only in recent years. While planning target volume (PTV) margins and preparation protocols ameliorate the effects of bladder and rectum volume changes on prostate, studies on SV variation have looked at only position, not volume variability.


The aim of this study was to investigate whether the inter-fraction volume variability of the VSs can exist in patients receiving radiotherapy to the prostate.


SV variability was investigated by comparing four on-treatment cone beam computer tomography scans to a planning computer tomography (CT) image for two patients receiving prostate radiotherapy. For each case, variation in volumes (cm3) was compared with intra-observer variation.


SV volume variability was seen in both patients, with the largest change in volume being 78·38%. This variance was considerably (between 2 and 10 times) larger than the measured intra-observer variance.


This study identified the potential for daily SV volume variability in patients receiving prostate radiotherapy. Future large-scale studies are warranted to identify the extent of this motion and potential clinical impact. Evidence-informed PTV margins and possible SV volume control protocols may need to be adopted.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Pete Bridge, University of Liverpool, Brownlow Hill, Liverpool L69 3GB, UK. Tel: +44(0)1517958366. E-mail:


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