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Identifying a research project topic can be difficult and overwhelming.

However, if you know how to


identify gaps in the literature, the process of identifying a topic can be easier. There are a few ways to
identify topics that may interest you for research. One of which is using the published community to
start your research brainstorming ideas. It is customary for researchers (in scholarly articles) to list
limitations in their research and future research projects to expand on their research or address their
limitations. Authors typically include this information in their conclusions. This activity to will help you to
identify those key phrases.

Activity: Research the scholarly community (journal publications related to radiation oncology) and
find 5 articles that suggest future research to be conducted. Some authors are good at explicitly
mentioning future research implications but you may have to do some digging with others. Write a
summary on each of the 5 research articles and then list a future research project based on what was
suggested by the authors. Provide a references page (in correct AMA format) of the 5 articles so the
instructor can review the articles. Remember the resources you have available to you through the
library to locate scholarly articles.

Article 1:
This study was aimed at the evaluation of hypo-fractionated whole breast radiation therapy
delivered in the supine position versus the prone position. With a very small sample size of 12
patients in each respective position, the study is very novel, as indicated in the title. In a 10
fraction schedule taken to 74-77Gy for all 24 patients, overall toxicities and OAR doses were
evaluated. The prone position produced significantly better OAR sparing in the small,
retrospective study.1 Future studies could include a larger retrospective study using many more
patients.
Article 2:
This was a study comparing supine vs prone positioning in the evaluation of whole breast and
axillary lymph node irradiation. This study was unique to predecessors by positioning patients in
the “prone crawl position”, meaning the ipsilateral arm is down at the waist. Only 5 patients were
included in the study and were simulated in both positions. The findings indicated that the prone
crawl position showed decreased OAR dose in regards to the contralateral breast and lungs. The
study indicates that its weakness is the small patient group. A similar study on a larger patient
group could be unethical due to the need for a second CT scan with no clinical benefit, so a
clinical trial would be the next step in research.2
Article 3.
This study was a comparison of OAR dose for left sided breast radiation techniques. The three
techniques used with comparable PTV coverage were free breathing supine, deep inspirational
breath hold supine, and free breathing prone. 10 patients suitable for the study underwent 3 CT
scans, 1 scan in each position. Treatment plans were created by the same dosimetrist for each
patient to find OAR dose differences. Prone had the lowest lung dose, and DIBH had the lowest
heart component doses. In conclusion, the researches stated that their research was found in
contrast to previously published studies. This alone calls for further research to determine which
study produced true results.3
References
1. Guenzi M, Bosetti D, Giorgio L, et al. Novel 10-fraction Breast Irradiation in Prone and
Supine Position: Technical, Dosimetric, and Clinical Evaluation. Tumori Journal.
2014;101(2):154-160.
https://doi.org/10.5301/tj.5000232
2. Deseyne P, Speleers B, De Neve W, et al. Whole breast and regional nodal irradiation in
prone versus supine position in left sided breast cancer. Radiation Oncology. 2017;12:89.
https://doi.org/10.1186/s13014-017-0828-6
3. Saini A, Hwang C, Das I. SU‐F‐T‐418: Evaluation of Organs at Risk (OAR) Sparing in
Left Breast Irradiation Techniques. Medical Physics. 2016;43(6):19.
https://doi.org/10.1118/1.4956603