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Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) for cancers in the lung remains challenging due to the complicated respiratory dynamics. We propose a shape-navigated dense image deformation model to estimate the patient-specific breathing motion using 4D respiratory correlated CT (RCCT) images . The idea is to use the shape change of the lungs, the major motion feature in the thorax image, as a surrogate to predict the corresponding dense image deformation from training. To build the statistical model, dense diffeomorphic deformations between images of all other time points to the image at end expiration are calculated, and the shapes of the lungs are automatically extracted. By correlating the shape variation with the temporally corresponding image deformation variation, a linear mapping function that maps a shape change to its corresponding image deformation is calculated from the training sample. Finally, given an extracted shape from the image at an arbitrary time point, its dense image deformation can be predicted from the pre-computed statistics. The method is carried out on two patients and evaluated in terms of the tumor and lung estimation accuracies. The result shows robustness of the model and suggests its potential for 4D lung radiation treatment planning.