Index of content:
Volume 36, Issue 10, October 2009
36(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.3213082View Description Hide Description
- RADIATION THERAPY PHYSICS
New algorithm to simulate organ movement and deformation for four-dimensional dose calculation based on a three-dimensional CT and fluoroscopy of the thorax36(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.3213083View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The aim of this study was to develop a 4D-modeling algorithm, designated “,” to simulate organ movement and deformation for 4D dose calculation without the need for 4D-CT or deformable image registration and to assess the validity of this algorithm.Methods:
This algorithm virtually creates 4D-CT images by deforming static 3D-CT data according to a typical motion model and motion data at multiple observation points collected via fluoroscopy. A typical motion model intended for patients with lungtumors immobilized with a vacuum pillow inside a stereotactic body frame was constructed. The geometric accuracy of virtual 4D-CT images created using this algorithm was evaluated in eight patients by comparing the simulated results with actual 4D-CT images in terms of visual assessment, landmark analysis, and comparison of the radial distance from the tumor centroid to the body or lung surface.Results:
The average accuracy for all patients, as determined via landmark analysis, was, very similar to results obtained through 4D-CT and deformable image registrations. Error in the radial distance from the tumor centroid to the body or lung surface was generally within 1.0 or 2.0 mm, respectively, in virtual versus actual 4D-CT images. Therefore, it is assumed that these geometric errors would have only negligible effects on dose calculation.Conclusions:
4D modeling of the thorax utilizing the algorithm shows acceptable accuracy and is more suited for routine clinical use in terms of processing time than conventional 4D-CT and deformable image registration. The algorithm may be useful for simulating dose distribution for advanced beam delivery techniques, such as real-time tumor tracking irradiation and adaptive radiation therapy.
Modeling and interpretation of the bioelectrical impedance signal for the determination of the local arterial stiffness36(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.3213084View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Stiffness of the large arteries (e.g., aorta) plays an important role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases. To date, the reference method for the determination of regional arterial stiffness is the measurement of the carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) by tonometric techniques. However, this method suffers from several drawbacks and it remains limited in clinical routine.Methods:
In the present study, the authors propose a new method based on the analysis of bioelectrical impedance (BI) signals for the determination of the local arterial stiffness. They show, from a theoretical model, a novel interpretation of the BI signals and they establish the relationship between the variations in the BI signal and the kinetic energy of the blood flow in large arteries. From this model, BI signals are simulated in the thigh and compared to experimental BI data. Finally, from the model, they propose a new index related to the properties of the large artery for the determination of the local arterial stiffness.Results:
The results show a good correlation between the simulated and the experimental BI signals. The same variations for both of them with different characteristics for rigid and elasticarteries can be observed. The measurement of the index on 20 subjects at rest (mean age of ) for the determination of the local aortic stiffness presents a significant correlation with the PWV reference method (; with the Spearman correlation coefficient and ).Conclusions:
All the results suggest that the theoretical model and the new index could give a reliable estimate of local arterial stiffness.
Dose prescription complexity versus tumor control probability in biologically conformal radiotherapy36(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.3213519View Description Hide Description
The technical feasibility and potential benefits of voxel-based nonuniform dose prescriptions for biologically heterogeneous tumors have been widely demonstrated. In some cases, an “ideal” dose prescription has been generated by individualizing the dose to every voxel within the target, but often this voxel-based prescription has been discretized into a small number of compartments. The number of dose levels utilized and the methods used for prescribing doses and assigning tumor voxels to different dose compartments have varied significantly. The authors present an investigation into the relationship between the complexity of the dose prescription and the tumor control probability (TCP) for a number of these methods. The linear quadratic model of cell killing was used in conjunction with a number of modeled tumors heterogeneous in clonogen density, oxygenation, or proliferation. Models based on simple mathematical functions, published biological data, and biological image data were investigated. Target voxels were assigned to dose compartments using (i) simple rules based on the initial biological distribution, (ii) iterative methods designed to maximize the achievable TCP, or (iii) methods based on an ideal dose prescription. The relative performance of the simple rules was found to depend on the form of heterogeneity of the tumor, while the iterative and ideal dose methods performed comparably for all models investigated. In all cases the maximum achievable TCP was approached within the first few (typically two to five) compartments. Results suggest that irrespective of the pattern of heterogeneity, the optimal dose prescription can be well approximated using only a few dose levels but only if both the compartment boundaries and prescribed dose levels are well chosen.
Tomographic image via background subtraction using an x-ray projection image and a priori computed tomography36(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.3193525View Description Hide Description
Kilovoltage x-ray projection images (kV images for brevity) are increasingly available in image guided radiotherapy (IGRT) for patient positioning. These images are two-dimensional (2D) projections of a three-dimensional (3D) object along the x-ray beam direction. Projecting a 3D object onto a plane may lead to ambiguities in the identification of anatomical structures and to poor contrast in kV images. Therefore, the use of kV images in IGRT is mainly limited to bony landmark alignments. This work proposes a novel subtraction technique that isolates a slice of interest (SOI) from a kV image with the assistance of a priori information from a previous CT scan. The method separates structural information within a preselected SOI by suppressing contributions to the unprocessed projection from out-of-SOI-plane structures. Up to a five-fold increase in the contrast-to-noise ratios(CNRs) was observed in selected regions of the isolated SOI, when compared to the original unprocessed kV image. The tomographic image via background subtraction (TIBS) technique aims to provide a quick snapshot of the slice of interest with greatly enhanced imagecontrast over conventional kV x-ray projections for fast and accurate image guidance of radiation therapy. With further refinements, TIBS could, in principle, provide real-time tumor localization using gantry-mounted x-ray imaging systems without the need for implanted markers.
36(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.3215927View Description Hide Description
A new monolithic silicon telescope was evaluated in unmodulated and modulated 100 MeV proton beams used for hadron therapy. Compared to a classical microdosimetrydetector, which provides one-dimensional information on lineal energy of charged particles, this detector system provides two-dimensional information on lineal energy and particle energy based on energy depositions, collected in coincidence, within the and stages of the detector. The authors investigated the possibility to use the information obtained with the telescope to determine the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) at defined locations within the proton Bragg peak and spread-out Bragg peak (SOBP). An RBE matrix based on the established in vitro V79 cell survival data was developed to link the output of the device directly to , the RBE in the low-dose limit, at various depths in a homogeneous polystyrene phantom. In the SOBP of a 100 MeV proton beam, the increased from 4.04 proximal to the SOBP to a maximum value of 5.4 at the distal edge. The telescope, with its high spatial resolution, has potential applications to biologically weighted hadron treatment planning as it provides a compact and portable means for estimating the RBE in rapidly changing hadronradiation fields within phantoms.
36(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.3218767View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The authors have developed a quantitative calibration method for a multileaf collimator(MLC) which measures individual leaf positions relative to the MLC backup jaw on an Elekta Synergy linear accelerator.Methods:
The method utilizes a commercially available two-axis detector array (Profiler 2; Sun Nuclear Corporation, Melbourne, FL). To calibrate the MLC bank, its backup jaw is positioned at the central axis and the opposing jaw is retracted to create a half-beam configuration. The position of the backup jaws field edge is then measured with the array to obtain what is termed the radiation defined reference line. The positions of the individual leaf ends relative to this reference line are then inferred by the detector response in the leaf end penumbra. Iteratively adjusting and remeasuring the leaf end positions to within specifications completes the calibration. Using the backup jaw as a reference for the leaf end positions is based on three assumptions: (1) The leading edge of an MLC leaf bank is parallel to its backup jaw’s leading edge, (2) the backup jaw position is reproducible, and (3) the measured radiation field edge created by each leaf end is representative of that leaf’s position. Data from an electronic portal imaging device(EPID) were used in a similar analysis to check the results obtained with the array.Results:
The relative leaf end positions measured with the array differed from those measured with the EPID by an average of 0.11 ±0.09 mm per leaf. The maximum leaf positional change measured with the Profiler 2 over a 3 month period was 0.51 mm. A leaf positional accuracy of ±0.4 mm is easily attainable through the iterative calibration process. The method requires an average of 40 min to measure both leaf banks.Conclusions:
This work demonstrates that the Profiler 2 is an effective tool for efficient and quantitative MLC quality assurance and calibration.
36(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.3218759View Description Hide Description
An accurate system matrix is required for quantitative protonCT (pCT) image reconstruction with iterative projection algorithms. The system matrix is composed of chord lengths of individual proton path intersections with reconstruction pixels. In previous work, reconstructions were performed assuming constant intersection chord lengths, which led to systematic errors of the reconstructedprotonstopping powers. The purpose of the present work was to introduce a computationally efficient variable intersection chord length in order to improve the accuracy of the system matrix. An analytical expression that takes into account the discrete stepping nature of the pCT most likely path (MLP) reconstruction procedure was created to describe an angle-dependent effective mean chord length function. A pCT dataset was simulated with GEANT4 using a parallel beam of 200 MeV protons intersecting a computerized head phantom consisting of tissue-equivalent materials with known relative stopping power. The phantom stopping powers were reconstructed with the constant chord length, exact chord length, and effective mean chord length approaches, in combination with the algebraic reconstruction technique. Relative stopping power errors were calculated for each anatomical phantom region and compared for the various methods. It was found that the error of approximately 10% in the mean reconstructedstopping power value for a given anatomical region, resulting from a system matrix with a constant chord length, could be reduced to less than 0.5% with either the effective mean chord length or exact chord length approaches. Reconstructions with the effective mean chord length were found to be approximately 20% faster than reconstructions with an exact chord length. The effective mean chord length method provides the possibility for more accurate, computationally efficient quantitative pCT reconstructions.
36(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.3213085View Description Hide Description
Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) is a system for intensity-modulated radiotherapy treatment delivery that achieves high dose conformality by optimizing the dose rate, gantry speed, and the leaf positions of the dynamic multileaf collimator (DMLC). The aim of this work is to present a practical approach for patient-specific volumetric reconstruction of the dosedelivered of a VMAT treatment using the DMLC and treatment controller log (Dynalog) files. The accuracy of VMAT delivery was analyzed for five prostate patients. For each patient, a clinical treatment was delivered and values recorded in the log files for the gantry angle, dose rate, and leaf positions were converted to a new DICOM-compliant plan using a custom-developed software system. The plan was imported in a treatment planning system and the dose distribution was recreated on the original CT by simply recomputing the dose. Using the standard evaluation tools, it is straightforward to assess if reconstructed dose meets clinical endpoints, as well as to compare side-by-side reconstructed and original plans. The study showed that log files can be directly used for dose reconstruction without resorting to phantom measurements or setups. In all cases, analysis of the leaf positions showed a maximum error of (mean of ). Gantry angle deviation was less than 1° and the total MU was within 0.5 from the planned value. Differences between the reconstructed and the intended dose matrices were less than 1.46% for all cases. Measurements using the MATRIXX system in a phantom were used to validate the dosimetric accuracy of the proposed method, with an agreement of at least 96% in all pixels as measured using the gamma index. The methodology provides a volumetric evaluation of the dose reconstructed by VMAT plans which is easily achieved by automated analysis of Dynalog files without additional measurements or phantom setups. This process provides a valuable platform for adaptive therapy in the future.
Automatic marker detection and 3D position reconstruction using cine EPID images for SBRT verification36(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.3218845View Description Hide Description
In previous studies, an electronic portal imaging device(EPID) in cine mode was used for validating respiratory gating and stereotactic body radiation therapy(SBRT) by tracking implanted fiducials. The manual marker tracking methods that were used were time and labor intensive, limiting the utility of the validation. The authors have developed an automatic algorithm to quickly and accurately extract the markers in EPIDimages and reconstruct their 3D positions. Studies have been performed with gold fiducials placed in solid water and dynamic thorax phantoms. In addition, the authors have examined the cases of five patients being treated under an SBRT protocol for hepatic metastases. For each case, a sequence of images was created by collecting the exit radiation using the EPID. The markers were detected and recognized using an image processing algorithm based on the Laplacian of Gaussian function. To reduce false marker detection, a marker registration technique was applied using image intensity as well as the geometric spatial transformations between the reference marker positions produced from the projection of 3D CTimages and the estimated marker positions. An average marker position in 3D was reconstructed by backprojecting, towards the source, the position of each marker on the 2D image plane. From the static phantom study, spatial accuracies of were achieved in both 2D and 3D marker locations. From the dynamic phantom study, using only the Laplacian of the Gaussian algorithm, the marker detection success rate was 88.8%. However, adding a marker registration technique which utilizes prior CT information, the detection success rate was increased to 100%. From the SBRT patient study, intrafractional tumor motion (3.1–11.3 mm) in the SI direction was measured using the 2D images. The interfractional patient setup errors (0.1–12.7 mm) in the SI, AP, and LR directions were obtained from the average marker locations reconstructed in 3D and compared to the reference planning CTimage. The authors have developed an automatic algorithm to extract marker locations from MV images and have evaluated its performance. The measured intrafractional tumor motion and the interfractional daily patient setup error can be used for off-line retrospective verification of SBRT.
2D-3D registration for prostate radiation therapy based on a statistical model of transmission images36(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.3213531View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
In external beam radiation therapy of pelvic sites, patient setup errors can be quantified by registering 2D projection radiographs acquired during treatment to a 3D planning computed tomograph (CT). We present a 2D-3D registration framework based on a statistical model of the intensity values in the two imaging modalities.Methods:
The model assumes that intensity values in projection radiographs are independently but not identically distributed due to the nonstationary nature of photon counting noise. Two probability distributions are considered for the intensity values: Poisson and Gaussian. Using maximum likelihood estimation, two similarity measures, maximum likelihood with a Poisson (MLP) and maximum likelihood with Gaussian (MLG), distribution are derived. Further, we investigate the merit of the model-based registration approach for data obtained with current imaging equipment and doses by comparing the performance of the similarity measures derived to that of the Pearson correlation coefficient (ICC) on accurately collected data of an anthropomorphic phantom of the pelvis and on patient data.Results:
Registration accuracy was similar for all three similarity measures and surpassed current clinical requirements of for pelvic sites. For pose determination experiments with a kilovoltage (kV) cone-beam CT(CBCT) and kV projection radiographs of the phantom in the anterior-posterior (AP) view, registration accuracies were (MLP), (MLG), and (ICC). For kV CBCT and megavoltage (MV) AP portal images of the same phantom, registration accuracies were (MLP), (MLG), and (ICC). Registration of a kV CT and MV AP portal images of a patient was successful in all instances.Conclusions:
The results indicate that high registration accuracy is achievable with multiple methods including methods that are based on a statistical model of a 3D CT and 2D projection images.
36(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.3218764View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The purposes of this study are to improve the accuracy of source and geometry parameters used in the simulation of large electron fields from a clinical linear accelerator and to evaluate improvement in the accuracy of the calculated dose distributions.Methods:
The monitor chamber and scattering foils of a clinical machine not in clinical service were removed for direct measurement of component geometry. Dose distributions were measured at various stages of reassembly, reducing the number of geometry variables in the simulation. The measured spot position and beam angle were found to vary with the beam energy. A magnetic field from the bending magnet was found between the exit window and the secondary collimators of sufficient strength to deflect electrons 1 cm off the beam axis at 100 cm from the exit window. The exit window was 0.05 cm thicker than manufacturer’s specification, with over half of the increased thickness due to water pressure in the channel used to cool the window. Dose distributions were calculated with Monte Carlo simulation of the treatment head and water phantom using EGSnrc, a code benchmarked at radiotherapy energies for electron scatter and bremsstrahlung production, both critical to the simulation. The secondary scattering foil and monitor chamber offset from the collimator rotation axis were allowed to vary with the beam energy in the simulation to accommodate the deflection of the beam by the magnetic field, which was not simulated.Results:
The energy varied linearly with bending magnet current to within 1.4% from 6.7 to 19.6 MeV, the bending magnet beginning to saturate at the highest beam energy. The range in secondary foil offset used to account for the magnetic field was 0.09 cm crossplane and 0.15 cm inplane, the range in monitor chamber offset was 0.14 cm crossplane and 0.07 cm inplane. A 1.5%/0.09 cm match or better was obtained to measured depth dose curves. Profiles measured at the depth of maximum dose matched the simulated profiles to 2.6% or better at doses of 80% or more of the dose on the central axis. The profiles along the direction of MLC motion agreed to within 0.16 cm at the edge of the field. There remained a mismatch for the lower beam energies at the edge of the profile that ran parallel to the direction of jaw motion of up to 1.4 cm for the 6 MeV beam, attributed to the MLC support block at the periphery of the field left out of the simulation and to beam deflection by the magnetic field. The possibility of using these results to perform accurate simulation without disassembly is discussed. Phase-space files were made available for benchmarking beam models and other purposes.Conclusions:
The match to measured large field dose distributions from clinical electron beams with Monte Carlo simulation was improved with more accurate source details and geometry details closer to manufacturer’s specification than previously achieved.
36(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.3213518View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
For the purpose of nonstandard beam reference dosimetry, the current concept of reporting absorbed dose at a point in water located at a representative position in the chamber volume is investigated in detail. As new nonstandard beam reference dosimetry protocols are under development, an evaluation of the role played by the definition of point of measurement could lead to conceptual improvements prior to establishing measurement procedures.Methods:
The present study uses the current definition of reporting absorbed dose to calculate ionization chamber perturbation factors for two cylindrical chamber models (Exradin A12 and A14) using the Monte Carlo method. The EGSnrc based user-code EGS̱chamber is used to calculate chamber dose responses of 14 IMRT beams chosen to cause considerable dose gradients over the chamber volume as previously used byBouchard and Seuntjens [“Ionization chamber-based reference dosimetry of intensity modulated radiation beams,” Med. Phys.31(9), 2454–5465 (2004)].Results:
The study shows conclusively the relative importance of each physical effect involved in the nonstandard beam correction factors of 14 IMRT beams. Of all correction factors involved in the dosimetry of the beams studied, the gradient perturbation correction factor has the highest magnitude, on average, 11% higher compared to reference conditions for the Exradin A12 chamber and about 5% higher for the Extradin A14 chamber. Other perturbation correction factors (i.e.,, , and ) are, on average, less than 0.8% different from reference conditions for the chambers and beams studied. The current approach of reporting measured absorbed dose at a point in water coinciding with the location of the centroid of the chamber is the main factor responsible for large correction factors in nonstandard beam deliveries (e.g., intensity modulated radiation therapy) reported in literature.Conclusions:
To reduce or eliminate the magnitude of perturbation correction factors in nonstandard beam reference dosimetry, two possible ways to report absorbed dose are suggested: (1) Reporting average dose to the sensitive volume of the chamber filled with water, combined with removing the reference field implicit gradient effect when measuring output factors, and (2) reporting average dose to the chamber itself during output factor verifications. The first option could be adopted if clinical beam correction factors are negligible. The second option could simplify quality assurance procedures when correction factors are not negligible and have to be calculated using Monte Carlo simulations.
36(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.3220211View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Biological optimization using complication probability models in intensity modulated radiotherapy(IMRT) planning has tremendous potential for reducing radiation-induced toxicity. Nevertheless, biological optimization is almost never clinically utilized, probably because of clinician confidence in, and familiarity with, physical dose-volume constraints. The method proposed here incorporates biological optimization after dose-volume constrained optimization so as to improve the dose distribution without detrimentally affecting the important reductions achieved by dose-volumeoptimization (DVO).Methods:
Following DVO, the clinician/planner first identifies “fixed points” on the target and organ-at-risk (OAR) dose-volume histograms. These points represent important DVO plan qualities that are not to be violated within a specified tolerance. Biological optimization then maximally reduces a biological metric (illustrated with equivalent uniform dose (EUD) in this work) while keeping the fixed dose-volume points within tolerance limits, as follows. Incremental fluence adjustments are computed and applied to incrementally reduce the OAR EUDs while approximately maintaining the fixed points. This process of incremental fluence adjustment is iterated until the fixed points exceed tolerance. At this juncture, remedial fluence adjustments are computed and iteratively applied to bring the fixed points back within tolerance, without increasing OAR EUDs. This process of EUD reduction followed by fixed-point correction is repeated until no further EUD reduction is possible. The method is demonstrated in the context of a prostate cancer case and olfactory neuroblastoma case. The efficacy of EUD reduction after DVO is evaluated by comparison to an optimizer with purely biological (EUD) OAR objectives.Results:
For both cases, EUD reduction after DVO additionally reduced doses, especially high doses, to normal organs. For the prostate case, bladder/rectum EUDs were reduced (after DVO) by 5.0%/3.9%, and highest doses were reduced by 4.6%/7.8%. The optimization with purely biological OAR objectives achieved bladder/rectal EUDs that were 7.4%/3.1% lower than from DVO, but only reduced highest doses by 1.4%/0.7%. In the olfactory neuroblastoma case, the target was closely surrounded by the eyes,optic nerves, chiasm, and brainstem. In one of the scenarios studied, the eyes,optic nerves, and chiasm were targeted for EUD reduction after DVO. EUD to the left eye, right eye, left optic nerve, right optic nerve, and chiasm were reduced by 7.0%, 5.7%, 4.7%, 4.1%, and 0.6%, respectively, and highest doses were reduced by 16.5%, 11.0%, 5.1%, 3.8%, and 1.5%, respectively. The optimization with purely biological OAR objectives was less effective for the eyes and optics nerves. EUDs for the left eye/right eye/left optic nerve/right optic nerve/chiasm were lower than that from DVO by 0.4%/2.7%/4.0%/2.8%/15.6% and highest doses were lower by 4.6%/1.4%/2.4%/6.4%/7.1% (but purely biological optimization was better overall for the OARs not targeted for EUD reduction).Conclusions:
Incorporating biological optimization after dose-volume constrained optimization can further reduce biological metrics, while preserving the important dose reductions achieved by dose-volume constrained optimization. Thus, biological optimization may be accommodated within the framework of current IMRT planning clinical expectations.
Comparison of arc-modulated cone beam therapy and helical tomotherapy for three different types of cancer36(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.3223633View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Arc-modulated cone beam therapy (AMCBT) is a fast treatment technique deliverable in a single rotation with a conventional C-arm shaped linac. In this planning study, the authors assess the dosimetric properties of single-arc therapy in comparison to helical tomotherapy for three different tumor types.Methods:
Treatment plans for three patients with prostate carcinoma, three patients with anal cancer, and three patients with head and neck cancer were optimized for helical tomotherapy and AMCBT. The dosimetric comparison of the two techniques is based on physical quantities derived from dose-volume histograms.Results:
For prostate cancer, the quality of dose distributions calculated for AMCBT was of equal quality as that generated for tomotherapy with the additional benefits of a faster delivery and a lower integral dose. For highly complex geometries, the plan quality achievable with helical tomotherapy could not be achieved with arc-modulated cone beam therapy.Conclusions:
Rotation therapy with a conventional linac in a single arc is capable to deliver a high and homogeneous dose to the target and spare organs at risk. Advantages of this technique are a fast treatment time and a lower integral dose in comparison to helical tomotherapy. For highly complex cases, e.g., with several target regions, the dose shaping capabilities of AMCBT are inferior to those of tomotherapy. However, treatment plans for AMCBT were also clinically acceptable.
- RADIATION IMAGING PHYSICS
A region growing method for tumor volume segmentation on PET images for rectal and anal cancer patients36(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.3213099View Description Hide Description
The application of automated segmentation methods for tumor delineation on -fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) images presents an opportunity to reduce the interobserver variability in radiotherapy (RT) treatment planning. In this work, three segmentation methods were evaluated and compared for rectal and anal cancer patients: (i) Percentage of the maximum standardized uptake value , (ii) fixed SUV cutoff of 2.5 , and (iii) mathematical technique based on a confidence connected region growing (CCRG) method. A phantom study was performed to determine the threshold value and found to be 43%, . The CCRG method is an iterative scheme that relies on the use of statistics from a specified region in the tumor. The scheme is initialized by a subregion of pixels surrounding the maximum intensity pixel. The mean and standard deviation of this region are measured and the pixels connected to the region are included or not based on the criterion that they are greater than a value derived from the mean and standard deviation. The mean and standard deviation of this new region are then measured and the process repeats. FDG-PET-CT imaging studies for 18 patients who received RT were used to evaluate the segmentation methods. A PET avid region was manually segmented for each patient and the volume was then used to compare the calculated volumes along with the absolute mean difference and range for all methods. For the method, the volumes were always smaller than the volume by a mean of 56% and a range of 21%–79%. The volumes from the method were either smaller or larger than the volume by a mean of 37% and a range of 2%–130%. The CCRG approach provided the best results with a mean difference of 9% and a range of 1%–27%. Results show that the CCRG technique can be used in the segmentation of tumor volumes on FDG-PET images, thus providing treatment planners with a clinically viable starting point for tumor delineation and minimizing the interobserver variability in radiotherapy planning.
Design and characterization of a spatially distributed multibeam field emission x-ray source for stationary digital breast tomosynthesis36(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.3213520View Description Hide Description
Digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) is a limited angle computed tomography technique that can distinguish tumors from its overlying breast tissues and has potentials for detection of cancers at a smaller size and earlier stage. Current prototype DBT scanners are based on the regular full-field digital mammography systems and require partial isocentric motion of an x-ray tube over certain angular range to record the projection views. This prolongs the scanning time and, in turn, degrades the imaging quality due to motion blur. To mitigate the above limitations, the concept of a stationary DBT (s-DBT) scanner has been recently proposed based on the newly developed spatially distributed multibeam field emission x-ray (MBFEX) source technique using the carbon nanotube. The purpose of this article is to evaluate the performance of the 25-beam MBFEX source array that has been designed and fabricated for the s-DBT system. The s-DBT system records all the projection images by electronically activating the multiple x-ray beams from different viewing angles without any mechanical motion. The configuration of the MBFEX source is close to the published values from the Siemens Mammomat system. The key issues including the x-ray flux, focal spot size, spatial resolution, scanning time, beam-to-beam consistency, and reliability are evaluated using the standard procedures. In this article, the authors describe the design and performance of a distributed x-ray source array specifically designed for the s-DBT system. They evaluate the emission current,current variation, lifetime, and focal spot sizes of the source array. An emission current of up to 18 mA was obtained at effective focal spot size. The experimentally measured focal spot sizes are comparable to that of a typical commercial mammography tube without motion blurring. Trade-off between the system spatial resolution, x-ray flux, and scanning time are also discussed. Projection images of a breast phantom were collected using the x-ray source array from 25 different viewing angles without motion. These preliminary results demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed s-DBT scanner. The technology has the potential to increase the resolution and reduce the imaging time for DBT. With the present design of 25 views, they demonstrated experimentally the feasibility of achieving 11 s scanning time at full detector resolution with source resolution without motion blur. The flexibility in configuration of the x-ray source array will also allow system designers to consider imaging geometries that are difficult to achieve with the conventional single-source rotating approach.
36(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.3213516View Description Hide DescriptionPURPOSE:
Iodinated phantoms are of value in x-ray imaging for quality control measurements, system calibration, and for use in the research setting; however, the liquid phantoms that are most often used have several limitations including variability between repeated dilutions, inhomogeneities from air bubbles or precipitants, and long set up times. Although suitable materials have been investigated for projection radiography, quantitative measurements of contrast enhancement in computed tomography(CT) have become increasingly important in the clinic, and a need exists for a durable and reproducible iodinated phantom material. In this work, the authors describe a solid radiographic phantom material that has an accurately known concentration of iodine distributed uniformly throughout its volume and that has stable properties over time. This material can be molded or machined into a desired shape to create a test object or for use in an anthropomorphic phantom.METHODS:
Two sets of calibration phantoms were produced with a clinically relevant range of iodine concentrations. Measurements were made on these phantoms to characterize the material properties in terms of accuracy of iodine concentration, radiographic uniformity, temporal stability of x-ray attenuation, and manufacturing repeatability. Experimentally measured linear x-ray attenuation coefficients were compared to those predicted by a theoretical model. The uniformity of the iodine distribution in the material was assessed by measuring image intensity variation, both in projection images and in reconstructed CT volumes. The reproducibility of manufacture was estimated on a set of independently produced samples. A longitudinal study was performed to assess the stability of the materialx-raycharacteristics over time by making measurements at 6 month intervals.RESULTS:
Good agreement was seen between the experimental measurements of effective attenuation and the theoretically predicted values. It is estimated that a desired iodine concentration could be produced to within 0.04 mg/ml. Comparison of the measured effective linear iodine attenuation coefficients of eight 1.0 mg/ml samples indicated a manufacturing reproducibility of ±0.03 mg/ml iodine. Variations in uniformity across each of the samples were on the order of image intensity fluctuations. No inhomogeneities due to mixing or settling were apparent. An analysis of longitudinal data collected for both calibration sets revealed no perceptible change in radiographicproperties over the first 6 months after manufacture, nor over a subsequent 1.5 yr period from 1 yr postmanufacture onward.CONCLUSIONS:
The uniformity, stability, and precision of this iodinated material suggest that it is suitable for use in accurate calibration tools for contrast tomographic imaging.
36(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.3215926View Description Hide Description
Digital breast tomosynthesis uses a limited number (typically 10–20) of low-dose x-ray projections to produce a pseudo-three-dimensional volume tomographic reconstruction of the breast. The purpose of this investigation was to characterize and evaluate the effect of scattered radiation on the image quality for breast tomosynthesis. In a simulation, scatter point spread functions generated by a Monte Carlo simulation method were convolved over the breast projection to estimate the distribution of scatter for each angle of tomosynthesis projection. The results demonstrate that in the absence of scatter reduction techniques, images will be affected by cupping artifacts, and there will be reduced accuracy of attenuation values inferred from the reconstructed images. The effect of x-rayscatter on the contrast, noise, and lesion signal-difference-to-noise ratio (SDNR) in tomosynthesisreconstruction was measured as a function of the tumor size. When a with-scatter reconstruction was compared to one without scatter for a 5 cm compressed breast, the following results were observed. The contrast in the reconstructed central slice image of a tumorlike mass (14 mm in diameter) was reduced by 30%, the voxel value (inferred attenuation coefficient) was reduced by 28%, and the SDNR fell by 60%. The authors have quantified the degree to which scatter degrades the image quality over a wide range of parameters relevant to breast tomosynthesis, including x-ray beam energy, breast thickness, breast diameter, and breast composition. They also demonstrate, though, that even without a scatter rejection device, the contrast and SDNR in the reconstructedtomosynthesis slice are higher than those of conventional mammographic projection images acquired with a grid at an equivalent total exposure.
Adaptive two-pass cone-beam artifact correction using a FOV-preserving two-source geometry: A simulation study36(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.3194802View Description Hide Description
The evolution to ever wider detector arrays that are able to cover whole organs with a single circular gantry sweep has revitalized the research efforts toward finding improved axial scanning algorithms and protocols. The authors propose a computed tomography scan and reconstruction concept using two sources, a single detector and a two-pass cone-beam correction method, as an integral part of the reconstruction. Compared with standard circular acquisition and reconstruction methods, the new concept excels with improved coverage and very low cone-beam artifact level also for short scan acquisitions, which makes it especially attractive for cardiac applications.