The impact of peer review on the radiotherapy treatment planning process in the treatment of lung cancer

K.P. Rooney, Gerry Hanna, J. Harney, R.L. Eakin, V.A.L. Young, M. Dunn, R.E. Johnston, J. McAleese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Advanced radiotherapy techniques permit accurate delivery of radiotherapy to lung tumours. Improved accuracy increases the possibility of radiotherapy field geographic miss of the tumour. One source of error is the accuracy of target volume (TV) delineation by the clinical oncologist. Colleague peer review of all curative intent lung cancer plans has been mandatory in our institution since May 2013. At least 2 clinical oncologists review plans checking treatment paradigm, TV delineated, dose to tumour and dose to critical organs. We report the impact of peer review on the radiotherapy planning process for lung cancer.

The radiotherapy treatment plans of all patients receiving radical radiotherapy were presented at weekly peer review meetings after their TVs volumes were provisionally signed off by the treating consultant or post-fellowship registrar. All cases and any resultant change to the treatment plan were recorded in our prospective peer review database. We present the summary of changes agreed following the peer review process for a 6 month period.

Fifteen peer review sessions, including 46 patients (36 NSCLC, 10 SCLC) were analysed. An average of 3 cases were discussed per meeting (range 1 5). 24% of treatment courses were changed. In 4% there was a complete change in paradigm
of treatment (1 patient proceeded to induction chemotherapy, 1 patient had high dose palliative radiotherapy). In 16% there was a change in TV delineated and in 9% a change in dose (2 dose reductions and 2 alterations to post-operative dose fractionations).

Consultant led peer review resulted in a change in a component of the treatment plan for 28% of patients that would not otherwise have taken place. Given this impact, consultant led peer review should be considered as an essential component in the radiotherapy planning process for all patients treated with curative radiotherapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S58-S59
Number of pages2
JournalLung Cancer
Issue numberSuppl 1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2014


  • lung cancer
  • Radiotherapy
  • Peer Review


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