Image Guided Radiation Therapy

Radiation oncologists at Penn Medicine are experts in the use of the latest therapies, including image guided radiation therapy (IGRT) to treat cancer. IGRT uses frequent imaging during a course of radiation therapy to improve the precision and accuracy of the delivery of the radiation treatment.

In IGRT, the linear accelerators (machines that delivers radiation) are equipped with imaging technology that take pictures of the tumor immediately before or even during the time radiation is delivered.

Specialized computer software compares these images of the tumor to the images taken during the simulation to establish the treatment plan. Necessary adjustments can then be made to the patient's position and/or the radiation beams to more precisely target radiation at the cancer and avoid the healthy surrounding tissue. 

Imaging used in IGRT includes:

  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • Ultrasound
  • X-ray

The Advantage to Patients

There are several advantages to IGRT therapy:

  • More precise radiation doses can safely be delivered to tumors with fewer side effects
  • Reduced treatment toxicity

Types of Cancer Treated with IGRT