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Open Access Publications from the University of California


As part of the cancer care team, UCLA Radiation Oncology is among the top departments in the nation and is ranked No. 4 in grant research funding among Radiation Oncology Departments nationwide. At UCLA Radiation Oncology, we have reinvented the model of cancer patient care to be a 360-degree approach that revolves around patients and their families. In this process we actively shepherd patients through the complexities of cancer care, coordinating each patient’s care. In addition, to ensure safety, our eam embraces a no-errors, quality-matters culture.

UCLA Department of Radiation Oncology

There are 536 publications in this collection, published between 1986 and 2024.
Radiation Oncology Department Publications Bibliography 2013-2016 (4)
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Open Access Policy Deposits (532)

The Utility of PET/CT in the Planning of External Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer

Radiotherapy and radical prostatectomy are the definitive treatment options for patients with localized prostate cancer. A rising level of prostate-specific antigen after radical prostatectomy indicates prostate cancer recurrence, and these patients may still be cured with salvage radiotherapy. To maximize chance for cure, the irradiated volumes should completely encompass the extent of disease. Therefore, accurate estimation of the location of disease is critical for radiotherapy planning in both the definitive and the salvage settings. Current first-line imaging for prostate cancer has limited sensitivity for detection of disease both at initial staging and at biochemical recurrence. Integration of PET into routine evaluation of prostate cancer patients may improve both staging accuracy and radiotherapy planning. 18F-FDG PET/CT is now routinely used in radiation planning for several cancer types. However, 18F-FDG PET/CT has low sensitivity for prostate cancer. Additional PET probes evaluated in prostate cancer include 18F-sodium fluoride, 11C-acetate, 11C- or 18F-choline, 18F-fluciclovine, and 68Ga- or 18F-labeled ligands that bind prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA). PSMA ligands appear to be the most sensitive and specific but have not yet received Food and Drug Administration New Drug Application approval for use in the United States. Retrospective and prospective investigations suggest a potential major impact of PET/CT on prostate radiation treatment planning. Prospective trials randomizing patients to routine radiotherapy planning versus PET/CT-aided planning may show meaningful clinical outcomes. Prospective clinical trials evaluating the addition of 18F-fluciclovine PET/CT for planning of salvage radiotherapy with clinical endpoints are under way. Prospective trials evaluating the clinical impact of PSMA PET/CT on prostate radiation planning are indicated.

Serum erythropoietin levels, breast cancer and breast cancer-initiating cells


Cancer is frequently associated with tumor-related anemia, and many chemotherapeutic agents impair hematopoiesis, leading to impaired quality of life for affected patients. The use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents has come under scrutiny after prospective clinical trials using recombinant erythropoietin to correct anemia reported increased incidence of thromboembolic events and cancer-related deaths. Furthermore, previous preclinical reports indicated expansion of the pool of breast cancer-initiating cells when erythropoietin was combined with ionizing radiation.


Using four established breast cancer cell lines, we test the effects of recombinant human erythropoietin and the number of breast cancer-initiating cells in vitro and in vivo and study if recombinant human erythropoietin promotes the phenotype conversion of non-tumorigenic breast cancer cells into breast cancer-initiating cells. In a prospective study, we evaluate whether elevated endogenous serum erythropoietin levels correlate with increased numbers of tumor-initiating cells in a cohort of breast cancer patients who were scheduled to undergo radiation treatment.


Our results indicate that recombinant erythropoietin increased the number of tumor-initiating cells in established breast cancer lines in vitro. Irradiation of breast cancer xenografts caused a phenotype conversion of non-stem breast cancer cells into induced breast cancer-initiating cells. This effect coincided with re-expression of the pluripotency factors c-Myc, Sox2, and Oct4 and was enhanced by recombinant erythropoietin. Hemoglobin levels were inversely correlated with serum erythropoietin levels, and the latter were correlated with disease stage. However, tumor sections revealed a negative correlation between serum erythropoietin levels and the number of ALDH1A3-positive cells, a marker for breast cancer-initiating cells.


We conclude that physiologically slow-rising serum erythropoietin levels in response to tumor-related or chemotherapy-induced anemia, as opposed to large doses of recombinant erythropoietin, do not increase the pool of breast cancer-initiating cells.

Feasibility of a deep-learning based anatomical region labeling tool for Cone-Beam Computed Tomography scans in radiotherapy

Background and purpose

Currently, there is no robust indicator within the Cone-Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) DICOM headers as to which anatomical region is present on the scan. This can be a predicament to CBCT-based algorithms trained on specific body regions, such as auto-segmentation and radiomics tools used in the radiotherapy workflow. We propose an anatomical region labeling (ARL) algorithm to classify CBCT scans into four distinct regions: head & neck, thoracic-abdominal, pelvis, and extremity.

Materials and methods

Algorithm training and testing was performed on 3,802 CBCT scans from 596 patients treated at our radiotherapy center. The ARL model, which consists of a convolutional neural network, makes use of a single CBCT coronal slice to output a probability of occurrence for each of the four classes. ARL was evaluated on the test dataset composed of 1,090 scans and compared to a support vector machine (SVM) model. ARL was also used to label CBCT treatment scans for 22 consecutive days as part of a proof-of-concept implementation. A validation study was performed on the first 100 unique patient scans to evaluate the functionality of the tool in the clinical setting.


ARL achieved an overall accuracy of 99.2% on the test dataset, outperforming the SVM (91.5% accuracy). Our validation study has shown strong agreement between the human annotations and ARL predictions, with accuracies of 99.0% for all four regions.


The high classification accuracy demonstrated by ARL suggests that it may be employed as a pre-processing step for site-specific, CBCT-based radiotherapy tools.

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