There are many obstacles in achieving the optimal dose distribution, but what is the most major limitation/hurdle that complicates that achievement? Pg. 413
The most major limitation is the knowledge of the tumor extent. Despite the modern advances in imaging, the clinical target volume (CTV) is often not fully discernible. Depending on the invasive capacity of the disease, what is imaged is usually not the CTV. It may be what is called the gross tumor volume (GTV). Thus, if the CTVs drawn on the cross-sectional images do not fully include the microscopic spread of the disease, the 3D-CRT loses its meaning of being conformal. If any part of the diseased tissue is missed or seriously underdosed, it will inevitably result in failure despite all the care and effort expended in treatment planning, treatment delivery, and quality assurance. From the TCP point of view, accuracy in localization of CTV is more critical in 3D-CRT than in techniques that use generously wide fields and simpler beam arrangements to compensate for the uncertainty in tumor localization.