Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) uses a variety of 2-D, 3-D and 4-D imaging techniques throughout the course of radiation therapy to accurately identify, pinpoint and monitor your tumor for changes. IGRT increases the probability of tumor control and typically results in shorter radiation therapy schedules.

Before treatment, your doctor will use some combination of computerized tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scan to define the size, shape and location of your tumor and any nearby critical organs at risk. The types of imaging techniques chosen depend on your disease. Your doctor uses this imaging information to develop your radiation treatment plan and to maximize the dose to the tumor while avoiding surrounding healthy tissue.

About

Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) is ideal for tumors that are very close to sensitive structures and organs or prone to movement or change of shape. During treatment, you'll typically be immobilized using a body mold or a mask. Markers may be placed on your skin or on the mold or mask for initial treatment positioning and in or near the tumor for added precision.

The care team follows the philosophy of imaging wisely and safely to keep radiation exposure as low as clinically necessary.

IGRT advantages include:

  • Accurate radiation delivery
  • Improved definition, localization and monitoring of tumor position, size and shape before and during treatment
  • The possibility of higher, targeted radiation dosage to improve tumor control
  • Decreased radiation exposure to normal tissue surrounding the tumor
  • Expertise and experience. Mayo Clinic has highly skilled experts in IGRT and cancer care, offering vast experience gained from treating a high volume of people. Each year, Mayo treats many thousands of people with cancer, making it one of the largest cancer treatment centers in the nation.
  • Multispecialty team. Mayo's highly trained radiation oncology team includes radiation oncologists, radiation therapists, oncology nurses, treatment planners (dosimetrists) and medical physicists. Your radiation oncology team works closely with medical oncologists, surgeons and other experts to coordinate the best care plan for you.
  • State-of-the-art technology. Mayo Clinic's access to advanced IGRT technologies allows the care team to provide the most comprehensive treatment evaluation and delivery, tailored to your needs.
  • Quality and safety. IGRT is a highly complex treatment. After developing the treatment plan, Mayo Clinic radiation oncologists partner with a dedicated and experienced physics team to ensure safe delivery of treatments, avoiding the risk of too much radiation.
  • Comprehensive cancer center. Mayo Clinic Cancer Center meets strict standards for a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center, recognizing scientific excellence and a multispecialty approach focused on cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., are ranked among the Best Hospitals for cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., is ranked high performing for cancer by U.S. News & World Report.

At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.

Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.

Why Choose Mayo Clinic

What Sets Mayo Clinic Apart

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

At Mayo Clinic in Arizona, your care team provides efficient and effective image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT). Your team may include doctors from radiation oncology, medical oncology and surgery, as well as radiation therapists, oncology nurses, treatment planners (dosimetrists), medical physicists and other experts as needed.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

At Mayo Clinic in Florida, your care team provides efficient and effective image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT). Your team may include doctors from radiation oncology, medical oncology and surgery, as well as radiation therapists, oncology nurses, treatment planners (dosimetrists), medical physicists and other experts as needed.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

At Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, your care team provides efficient and effective image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT). Your team may include doctors from radiation oncology, medical oncology and surgery, as well as radiation therapists, oncology nurses, treatment planners (dosimetrists), medical physicists and other experts as needed.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Investigators at Mayo Clinic are dedicated to studying novel procedures to determine their potential for treatment of cancers. Areas of radiotherapy research include:

  • Evaluating new IGRT technologies and procedures such as adaptive radiation therapy and 4-D radiation simulation and treatment
  • Biopsy validation of advanced imaging detection of aggressive disease
  • Improving outcomes by integrating advanced imaging techniques for treatment planning to individualize radiation target volumes and allow higher doses to better-defined targets, sparing critical structures and organs
  • Increasing the accuracy of radiotherapy delivery by using novel IGRT technologies and techniques for localization and verification of positioning during treatment
  • Development and evaluation of best IGRT practices for proton therapy
  • Using advanced imaging technologies to evaluate treatment response and guide therapy decisions
  • Imaging drug-induced changes in tumors to rapidly identify patients who benefit from a particular novel therapeutic strategy
  • Assessing and developing radiation oncology information systems for efficient, safe and effective use and management of IGRT information

Publications

See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic doctors on image-guided radiation therapy on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Dec. 05, 2011