Index of content:
Volume 40, Issue 11, November 2013
Volume quantifications of lung nodules with multidetector computed tomography (CT) images provide useful information for monitoring nodule developments. The accuracy and precision of the volume quantification, however, can be impacted by imaging and reconstruction parameters. This study aimed to investigate the impact of iterative reconstruction algorithms on the accuracy and precision of volume quantification with dose and slice thickness as additional variables.Methods:
Repeated CT images were acquired from an anthropomorphic chest phantom with synthetic nodules (9.5 and 4.8 mm) at six dose levels, and reconstructed with three reconstruction algorithms [filtered backprojection (FBP), adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction (ASiR), and model based iterative reconstruction (MBIR)] into three slice thicknesses. The nodule volumes were measured with two clinical software (A: Lung VCAR, B: iNtuition), and analyzed for accuracy and precision.Results:
Precision was found to be generally comparable between FBP and iterative reconstruction with no statistically significant difference noted for different dose levels, slice thickness, and segmentation software. Accuracy was found to be more variable. For large nodules, the accuracy was significantly different between ASiR and FBP for all slice thicknesses with both software, and significantly different between MBIR and FBP for 0.625 mm slice thickness with Software A and for all slice thicknesses with Software B. For small nodules, the accuracy was more similar between FBP and iterative reconstruction, with the exception of ASIR vs FBP at 1.25 mm with Software A and MBIR vs FBP at 0.625 mm with Software A.Conclusions:
The systematic difference between the accuracy of FBP and iterative reconstructions highlights the importance of extending current segmentation software to accommodate the image characteristics of iterative reconstructions. In addition, a calibration process may help reduce the dependency of accuracy on reconstruction algorithms, such that volumes quantified from scans of different reconstruction algorithms can be compared. The little difference found between the precision of FBP and iterative reconstructions could be a result of both iterative reconstruction's diminished noise reduction at the edge of the nodules as well as the loss of resolution at high noise levels with iterative reconstruction. The findings do not rule out potential advantage of IR that might be evident in a study that uses a larger number of nodules or repeated scans.
40(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4816659View Description Hide Description
- MEDICAL PHYSICS LETTER
40(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4823762View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
High-resolution vascular imaging has not been achieved in the brain due to limitations of current clinical imaging modalities. The authors present a method for transcranial ultrasound imaging of single micrometer-size bubbles within a tube phantom.Methods:
Emissions from single bubbles within a tube phantom were mapped through anex vivo human skull using a sparse hemispherical receiver array and a passive beamforming algorithm. Noninvasive phase and amplitude correction techniques were applied to compensate for the aberrating effects of the skull bone. The positions of the individual bubbles were estimated beyond the diffraction limit of ultrasound to produce a super-resolution image of the tube phantom, which was compared with microcomputed tomography (micro-CT).Results:
The resulting super-resolution ultrasound image is comparable to results obtained via the micro-CT for small tissue specimen imaging.Conclusions:
This method provides superior resolution to deep-tissue contrast ultrasound and has the potential to be extended to provide complete vascular network imaging in the brain.
- RADIATION THERAPY PHYSICS
40(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4822486View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The availability of corresponding landmarks in IGRT image series allows quantifying the inter and intrafractional motion of internal organs. In this study, an approach for the automatic localization of anatomical landmarks is presented, with the aim of describing the nonrigid motion of anatomo-pathological structures in radiotherapy treatments according to local image contrast.Methods:
An adaptive scale invariant feature transform (SIFT) was developed from the integration of a standard 3D SIFT approach with a local image-based contrast definition. The robustness and invariance of the proposed method to shape-preserving and deformable transforms were analyzed in a CT phantom study. The application of contrast transforms to the phantom images was also tested, in order to verify the variation of the local adaptive measure in relation to the modification of image contrast. The method was also applied to a lung 4D CT dataset, relying on manual feature identification by an expert user as ground truth. The 3D residual distance between matches obtained in adaptive-SIFT was then computed to verify the internal motion quantification with respect to the expert user. Extracted corresponding features in the lungs were used as regularization landmarks in a multistage deformable image registration (DIR) mapping the inhale vs exhale phase. The residual distances between the warped manual landmarks and their reference position in the inhale phase were evaluated, in order to provide a quantitative indication of the registration performed with the three different point sets.Results:
The phantom study confirmed the method invariance and robustness properties to shape-preserving and deformable transforms, showing residual matching errors below the voxel dimension. The adapted SIFT algorithm on the 4D CT dataset provided automated and accurate motion detection of peak to peak breathing motion. The proposed method resulted in reduced residual errors with respect to standard SIFT, providing a motion description comparable to expert manual identification, as confirmed by DIR.Conclusions:
The application of the method to a 4D lung CT patient dataset demonstrated adaptive-SIFT potential as an automatic tool to detect landmarks for DIR regularization and internal motion quantification. Future works should include the optimization of the computational cost and the application of the method to other anatomical sites and image modalities.
The feasibility study and characterization of a two-dimensional diode array in “magic phantom” for high dose rate brachytherapy quality assurance40(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4822736View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
High dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy is a radiation treatment technique capable of delivering large dose rates to the tumor. Radiation is delivered using remote afterloaders to drive highly active sources (commonly192Ir with an air KERMA strength range between 20 000 and 40 000 U, where 1 U = 1 μGy m2/h in air) through applicators directly into the patient's prescribed region of treatment. Due to the obvious ramifications of incorrect treatment while using such an active source, it is essential that there are methods for quality assurance (QA) that can directly and accurately verify the treatment plan and the functionality of the remote afterloader. This paper describes the feasibility study of a QA system for HDR brachytherapy using a phantom based two-dimensional 11 × 11 epitaxial diode array, named “magic phantom.”Methods:
The HDR brachytherapy treatment plan is translated to the phantom with two rows of 10 (20 in total) HDR source flexible catheters, arranged above and below the diode array “magic plate” (MP). Four-dimensional source tracking in each catheter is based upon a developed fast iterative algorithm, utilizing the response of the diodes in close proximity to the192 Ir source, sampled at 100 ms intervals by a fast data acquisition (DAQ) system. Using a 192 Ir source in a solid water phantom, the angular response of the developed epitaxial diodes utilized in the MP and also the variation of the MP response as a function of the source-to-detector distance (SDD) were investigated. These response data are then used by an iterative algorithm for source dwelling position determination. A measurement of the average transit speed between dwell positions was performed using the diodes and a fast DAQ.Results:
The angular response of the epitaxial diode showed a variation of 15% within 360°, with two flat regions above and below the detector face with less than 5% variation. For SDD distances of between 5 and 30 mm the relative response of the epitaxial diodes used in the MP is in good agreement (within 8%) with radial dose function measurements found within the TG-43 protocol, with SDD of up to 70 mm showing a 40% over response. A method for four-dimensional localization of the HDR source was developed, allowing the source dwell position to be derived within 0.50 mm of the expected position. An estimation of the average transit speed for varying step sizes was determined and was found to increase from (12.8 ± 0.3) up to (38.6 ± 0.4) cm/s for a step size of 2.5 and 50 mm, respectively.Conclusions:
Our characterization of the designed QA “magic phantom” with MP in realistic HDR photon fields demonstrates the promising performance for real-time source position tracking in four dimensions and measurements of transit times. Further development of this system will allow a full suite for QA in HDR brachytherapy and analysis, and for futurein vivo tracking.
A virtual phantom library for the quantification of deformable image registration uncertainties in patients with cancers of the head and neck40(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4823467View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Deformable image registration (DIR) is being used increasingly in various clinical applications. However, the underlying uncertainties of DIR are not well-understood and a comprehensive methodology has not been developed for assessing a range of interfraction anatomic changes during head and neck cancer radiotherapy. This study describes the development of a library of clinically relevant virtual phantoms for the purpose of aiding clinicians in the QA of DIR software. These phantoms will also be available to the community for the independent study and comparison of other DIR algorithms and processes.Methods:
Each phantom was derived from a pair of kVCT volumetric image sets. The first images were acquired of head and neck cancer patients prior to the start-of-treatment and the second were acquired near the end-of-treatment. A research algorithm was used to autosegment and deform the start-of-treatment (SOT) images according to a biomechanical model. This algorithm allowed the user to adjust the head position, mandible position, and weight loss in the neck region of the SOT images to resemble the end-of-treatment (EOT) images. A human-guided thin-plate splines algorithm was then used to iteratively apply further deformations to the images with the objective of matching the EOT anatomy as closely as possible. The deformations from each algorithm were combined into a single deformation vector field (DVF) and a simulated end-of-treatment (SEOT) image dataset was generated from that DVF. Artificial noise was added to the SEOT images and these images, along with the original SOT images, created a virtual phantom where the underlying “ground-truth” DVF is known. Images from ten patients were deformed in this fashion to create ten clinically relevant virtual phantoms. The virtual phantoms were evaluated to identify unrealistic DVFs using the normalized cross correlation (NCC) and the determinant of the Jacobian matrix. A commercial deformation algorithm was applied to the virtual phantoms to show how they may be used to generate estimates of DIR uncertainty.Results:
The NCC showed that the simulated phantom images had greater similarity to the actual EOT images than the images from which they were derived, supporting the clinical relevance of the synthetic deformation maps. Calculation of the Jacobian of the “ground-truth” DVFs resulted in only positive values. As an example, mean error statistics are presented for all phantoms for the brainstem, cord, mandible, left parotid, and right parotid.Conclusions:
It is essential that DIR algorithms be evaluated using a range of possible clinical scenarios for each treatment site. This work introduces a library of virtual phantoms intended to resemble real cases for interfraction head and neck DIR that may be used to estimate and compare the uncertainty of any DIR algorithm.
40(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4822485View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
This paper presents a concept for a proton therapy system capable of delivering intensity modulated proton therapy using a fan beam of protons. This system would allow present and future gantry-based facilities to deliver state-of-the-art proton therapy with the greater normal tissue sparing made possible by intensity modulation techniques.Methods:
A method for producing a divergent fan beam of protons using a pair of electromagnetic quadrupoles is described and particle transport through the quadrupole doublet is simulated using a commercially available software package. To manipulate the fan beam of protons, a modulation device is developed. This modulator inserts or retracts acrylic leaves of varying thickness from subsections of the fan beam. Each subsection, or beam channel, creates what effectively becomes a beam spot within the fan area. Each channel is able to provide 0–255 mm of range shift for its associated beam spot, or stop the beam and act as an intensity modulator. Results of particle transport simulations through the quadrupole system are incorporated into the MCNPX Monte Carlo transport code along with a model of the range and intensity modulation device. Several design parameters were investigated and optimized, culminating in the ability to create topotherapy treatment plans using distal-edge tracking on both phantom and patient datasets.Results:
Beam transport calculations show that a pair of electromagnetic quadrupoles can be used to create a divergent fan beam of 200 MeV protons over a distance of 2.1 m. The quadrupole lengths were 30 and 48 cm, respectively, with transverse field gradients less than 20 T/m, which is within the range of water-cooled magnets for the quadrupole radii used. MCNPX simulations of topotherapy treatment plans suggest that, when using the distal edge tracking delivery method, many delivery angles are more important than insisting on narrow beam channel widths in order to obtain conformal target coverage. Overall, the sharp distal falloff of a proton depth-dose distribution was found to provide sufficient control over the dose distribution to meet objectives, even with coarse lateral resolution and channel widths as large as 2 cm. Treatment plans on both phantom and patient data show that dose conformity suffers when treatments are delivered from less than approximately ten angles. Treatment time for a sample prostate delivery is estimated to be on the order of 10 min, and neutron production is estimated to be comparable to that found for existing collimated systems.Conclusions:
Fan beam proton therapy is a method of delivering intensity modulated proton therapy which may be employed as an alternative to magnetic scanning systems. A fan beam of protons can be created by a set of quadrupole magnets and modified by a dual-purpose range and intensity modulator. This can be used to deliver inversely planned treatments, with spot intensities optimized to meet user defined dose objectives. Additionally, the ability of a fan beam delivery system to effectively treat multiple beam spots simultaneously may provide advantages as compared to spot scanning deliveries.
40(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4823469View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Describing the implementation of nuclear reactions in the extension of the Monte Carlo code (MC) PENELOPE to protons (PENH) and benchmarking with Geant4.Methods:
PENH is based on mixed-simulation mechanics for both elastic and inelastic electromagnetic collisions (EM). The adopted differential cross sections for EM elastic collisions are calculated using the eikonal approximation with the Dirac–Hartree–Fock–Slater atomic potential. Cross sections for EM inelastic collisions are computed within the relativistic Born approximation, using the Sternheimer–Liljequist model of the generalized oscillator strength. Nuclear elastic and inelastic collisions were simulated using explicitly the scattering analysis interactive dialin database for1H and ICRU 63 data for 12C, 14N, 16O, 31P, and 40Ca. Secondary protons, alphas, and deuterons were all simulated as protons, with the energy adapted to ensure consistent range. Prompt gamma emission can also be simulated upon user request. Simulations were performed in a water phantom with nuclear interactions switched off or on and integral depth–dose distributions were compared. Binary-cascade and precompound models were used for Geant4. Initial energies of 100 and 250 MeV were considered. For cases with no nuclear interactions simulated, additional simulations in a water phantom with tight resolution (1 mm in all directions) were performed with FLUKA. Finally, integral depth–dose distributions for a 250 MeV energy were computed with Geant4 and PENH in a homogeneous phantom with, first, ICRU striated muscle and, second, ICRU compact bone.Results:
For simulations with EM collisions only, integral depth–dose distributions were within 1%/1 mm for doses higher than 10% of the Bragg-peak dose. For central-axis depth–dose and lateral profiles in a phantom with tight resolution, there are significant deviations between Geant4 and PENH (up to 60%/1 cm for depth–dose distributions). The agreement is much better with FLUKA, with deviations within 3%/3 mm. When nuclear interactions were turned on, agreement (within 6% before the Bragg-peak) between PENH and Geant4 was consistent with uncertainties on nuclear models and cross sections, whatever the material simulated (water, muscle, or bone).Conclusions:
A detailed and flexible description of nuclear reactions has been implemented in the PENH extension of PENELOPE to protons, which utilizes a mixed-simulation scheme for both elastic and inelastic EM collisions, analogous to the well-established algorithm for electrons/positrons. PENH is compatible with all current main programs that use PENELOPE as the MC engine. The nuclear model of PENH is realistic enough to give dose distributions in fair agreement with those computed by Geant4.
40(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4823758View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Accurate treatment delivery in high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy requires correct source dwell positions and dwell times to be administered relative to each other and to the surrounding anatomy. Treatment delivery inaccuracies predominantly occur for two reasons: (i) anatomical movement or (ii) as a result of human errors that are usually related to incorrect implementation of the planned treatment. Electronic portal imaging devices (EPIDs) were originally developed for patient position verification in external beam radiotherapy and their application has been extended to provide dosimetric information. The authors have characterized the response of an EPID for use with an192Ir brachytherapy source to demonstrate its use as a verification device, providing both source position and dosimetric information.Methods:
Characterization of the EPID response using an192Ir brachytherapy source included investigations of reproducibility, linearity with dose rate, photon energy dependence, and charge build-up effects associated with exposure time and image acquisition time. Source position resolution in three dimensions was determined. To illustrate treatment verification, a simple treatment plan was delivered to a phantom and the measured EPID dose distribution compared with the planned dose.Results:
The mean absolute source position error in the plane parallel to the EPID, for dwells measured at 50, 100, and 150 mm source to detector distances (SDD), was determined to be 0.26 mm. The resolution of the z coordinate (perpendicular distance from detector plane) is SDD dependent with 95% confidence intervals of ±0.1, ±0.5, and ±2.0 mm at SDDs of 50, 100, and 150 mm, respectively. The response of the EPID is highly linear to dose rate. The EPID exhibits an over-response to low energy incident photons and this nonlinearity is incorporated into the dose calibration procedure. A distance (spectral) dependent dose rate calibration procedure has been developed. The difference between measured and planned dose is less than 2% for 98.0% of pixels in a two-dimensional plane at an SDD of 100 mm.Conclusions:
Our application of EPID dosimetry to HDR brachytherapy provides a quality assurance measure of the geometrical distribution of the delivered dose as well as the source positions, which is not possible with any current HDR brachytherapy verification system.
40(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4823775View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Photo-stimulable phosphor computed radiography (CR) has characteristics that allow the output to be manipulated by both radiation and optical light. The authors have developed a method that uses these characteristics to carry out radiation field and light field coincidence quality assurance on linear accelerators.Methods:
CR detectors from Kodak were used outside their cassettes to measure both radiation and light field edges from a Varian linear accelerator. The CR detector was first exposed to a radiation field and then to a slightly smaller light field. The light impinged on the detector's latent image, removing to an extent the portion exposed to the light field. The detector was then digitally scanned. AMATLAB-based algorithm was developed to automatically analyze the images and determine the edges of the light and radiation fields, the vector between the field centers, and the crosshair center. Radiographic film was also used as a control to confirm the radiation field size.Results:
Analysis showed a high degree of repeatability with the proposed method. Results between the proposed method and radiographic film showed excellent agreement of the radiation field. The effect of varying monitor units and light exposure time was tested and found to be very small. Radiation and light field sizes were determined with an uncertainty of less than 1 mm, and light and crosshair centers were determined within 0.1 mm.Conclusions:
A new method was developed to digitally determine the radiation and light field size using CR photo-stimulable phosphor plates. The method is quick and reproducible, allowing for the streamlined and robust assessment of light and radiation field coincidence, with no observer interpretation needed.
Correcting radiation survey data to account for increased leakage during intensity modulated radiotherapy treatments40(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4823776View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) treatments require more beam-on time and produce more linac head leakage to deliver similar doses to conventional, unmodulated, radiotherapy treatments. It is necessary to take this increased leakage into account when evaluating the results of radiation surveys around bunkers that are, or will be, used for IMRT. The recommended procedure of applying a monitor-unit based workload correction factor to secondary barrier survey measurements, to account for this increased leakage when evaluating radiation survey measurements around IMRT bunkers, can lead to potentially costly overestimation of the required barrier thickness. This study aims to provide initial guidance on the validity of reducing the value of the correction factor when applied to different radiation barriers (primary barriers, doors, maze walls, and other walls) by evaluating three different bunker designs.Methods:
Radiation survey measurements of primary, scattered, and leakage radiation were obtained at each of five survey points around each of three different radiotherapy bunkers and the contribution of leakage to the total measured radiation dose at each point was evaluated. Measurements at each survey point were made with the linac gantry set to 12 equidistant positions from 0° to 330°, to assess the effects of radiation beam direction on the results.Results:
For all three bunker designs, less than 0.5% of dose measured at and alongside the primary barriers, less than 25% of the dose measured outside the bunker doors and up to 100% of the dose measured outside other secondary barriers was found to be caused by linac head leakage.Conclusions:
Results of this study suggest that IMRT workload corrections are unnecessary, for survey measurements made at and alongside primary barriers. Use of reduced IMRT workload correction factors is recommended when evaluating survey measurements around a bunker door, provided that a subset of the measurements used in this study are repeated for the bunker in question. Reduction of the correction factor for other secondary barrier survey measurements is not recommended unless the contribution from leakage is separately evaluated.
Evaluation of the cone beam CT for internal target volume localization in lung stereotactic radiotherapy in comparison with 4D MIP images40(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4823785View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To investigate whether the three-dimensional cone-beam CT (CBCT) is clinically equivalent to the four-dimensional computed tomography (4DCT) maximum intensity projection (MIP) reconstructed images for internal target volume (ITV) localization in image-guided lung stereotactic radiotherapy.Methods:
A ball-shaped polystyrene phantom with built-in cube, sphere, and cone of known volumes was attached to a motor-driven platform, which simulates a sinusoidal movement with changeable motion amplitude and frequency. Target motion was simulated in the patient in a superior-inferior (S-I) direction with three motion periods and 2 cm peak-to-peak amplitudes. The Varian onboard Exact-Arms kV CBCT system and the GE LightSpeed four-slice CT integrated with the respiratory-position-management 4DCT scanner were used to scan the moving phantom. MIP images were generated from the 4DCT images. The clinical equivalence of the two sets of images was evaluated by comparing the extreme locations of the moving objects along the motion direction, the centroid position of the ITV, and the ITV volumes that were contoured automatically by Velocity or calculated with an imaging gradient method. The authors compared the ITV volumes determined by the above methods with those theoretically predicted by taking into account the physical object dimensions and the motion amplitudes. The extreme locations were determined by the gradient method along the S-I axis through the center of the object. The centroid positions were determined by autocenter functions. The effect of motion period on the volume sizes was also studied.Results:
It was found that the extreme locations of the objects determined from the two image modalities agreed with each other satisfactorily. They were not affected by the motion period. The average difference between the two modalities in the extreme locations was 0.68% for the cube, 1.35% for the sphere, and 0.5% for the cone, respectively. The maximum difference in the centroid position of the cylinder, sphere, and cone was less than 1.4 mm between the two modalities for all motion periods studied. For the ITV volume evaluation, the authors found that both MIP-based and CBCT-based ITVs increased with increases of motion period. Furthermore, the MIP-based ITV volumes were generally larger than those determined from the CBCT images, with the difference in autocontoured volumes being 2.57%, 1.66%, and 1.82% for the sphere, cylinder, and cone, respectively, while these differences increased to 9.57%, 3.52%, 8.71% for the above objects when the gradient method was used. The authors found that the autocontour method was accurate enough to predict the actual ITV values with the absolute differences less than 2.4% comparing to the theoretically predicted values.Conclusions:
The extreme location and the centroid position of the objects agree with each other between the two image modalities when the breathing motion is sinusoidal. Although the ITV volumes delineated from both image modalities changed with the motion period, the differences in ITV between the two modalities were minimal when an optimized window level was used. The authors’ results suggest that CBCT and MIP images are equivalent in determining an ITV's position in the conditions studied. The CBCT is adequate in providing imaging-guidance for lung cancer treatment.
40(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4823789View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The aim of this work is to evaluate the geometric accuracy of a prerelease version of a new six degrees of freedom (6DoF) couch. Additionally, a quality assurance method for 6DoF couches is proposed.Methods:
The main principle of the performance tests was to request a known shift for the 6DoF couch and to compare this requested shift with the actually applied shift by independently measuring the applied shift using different methods (graph paper, laser, inclinometer, and imaging system). The performance of each of the six axes was tested separately as well as in combination with the other axes. Functional cases as well as realistic clinical cases were analyzed. The tests were performed without a couch load and with a couch load of up to 200 kg and shifts in the range between −4 and +4 cm for the translational axes and between −3° and +3° for the rotational axes were applied. The quality assurance method of the new 6DoF couch was performed using a simple cube phantom and the imaging system.Results:
The deviations (mean ± one standard deviation) accumulated over all performance tests between the requested shifts and the measurements of the applied shifts were −0.01 ± 0.02, 0.01 ± 0.02, and 0.01 ± 0.02 cm for the longitudinal, lateral, and vertical axes, respectively. The corresponding values for the three rotational axes couch rotation, pitch, and roll were 0.03° ± 0.06°, −0.04° ± 0.12°, and −0.01° ± 0.08°, respectively. There was no difference found between the tests with and without a couch load of up to 200 kg.Conclusions:
The new 6DoF couch is able to apply requested shifts with high accuracy. It has the potential to be used for treatment techniques with the highest demands in patient setup accuracy such as those needed in stereotactic treatments. Shifts can be applied efficiently and automatically. Daily quality assurance of the 6DoF couch can be performed in an easy and efficient way. Long-term stability has to be evaluated in further tests.
Strategies for automatic online treatment plan reoptimization using clinical treatment planning system: A planning parameters study40(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4823473View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Adaptive radiation therapy for prostate cancer using online reoptimization provides an improved control of interfractional anatomy variations. However, the clinical implementation of online reoptimization is currently limited by the low efficiency of current strategies and the difficulties associated with integration into the current treatment planning system. This study investigates the strategies for performing fast (∼2 min) automatic online reoptimization with a clinical fluence-map-based treatment planning system; and explores the performance with different input parameters settings: dose-volume histogram (DVH) objective settings, starting stage, and iteration number (in the context of real time planning).Methods:
Simulated treatments of 10 patients were reoptimized daily for the first week of treatment (5 fractions) using 12 different combinations of optimization strategies. Options for objective settings included guideline-based RTOG objectives, patient-specific objectives based on anatomy on the planning CT, and daily-CBCT anatomy-based objectives adapted from planning CT objectives. Options for starting stages involved starting reoptimization with and without the original plan's fluence map. Options for iteration numbers were 50 and 100. The adapted plans were then analyzed by statistical modeling, and compared both in terms of dosimetry and delivery efficiency.Results:
All online reoptimized plans were finished within ∼2 min with excellent coverage and conformity to the daily target. The three input parameters, i.e., DVH objectives, starting stage, and iteration number, contributed to the outcome of optimization nearly independently. Patient-specific objectives generally provided better OAR sparing compared to guideline-based objectives. The benefit in high-dose sparing from incorporating daily anatomy into objective settings was positively correlated with the relative change in OAR volumes from planning CT to daily CBCT. The use of the original plan fluence map as the starting stage reduced OAR dose at the mid-dose region, but increased the monitor units by 17%. Differences of only 2cc or less in OAR V50%/V70Gy/V76Gy were observed between 100 and 50 iterations.Conclusions
: It is feasible to perform automatic online reoptimization in ∼2 min using a clinical treatment planning system. Selecting optimal sets of input parameters is the key to achieving high quality reoptimized plans, and should be based on the individual patient's daily anatomy, delivery efficiency, and time allowed for plan adaptation.
40(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4823757View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The spatial and temporal tracking performance of a commercially available 3D optical surface imaging system is evaluated for its potential use in frameless stereotactic radiosurgery head tracking applications.Methods:
Both 3D surface and infrared (IR) marker tracking were performed simultaneously on a head phantom mounted on anxyz motion stage and on four human subjects. To allow spatial and temporal comparison on human subjects, three points were simultaneously monitored, including the upper facial region (3D surface), a dental plate (IR markers), and upper forehead (IR markers).Results:
For both static and dynamic phantom studies, the 3D surface tracker was found to have a root mean squared error (RMSE) of approximately 0.30 mm for region-of-interest (ROI) surface sizes greater than 1000 vertex points. Although, the processing period (1/fps) of the 3D surface system was found to linearly increase as a function of the number of ROI vertex points, the tracking accuracy was found to be independent of ROI size provided that the ROI was sufficiently large and contained features for registration. For human subjects, the RMSE between 3D surface tracking and IR marker tracking modalities was 0.22 mm left-right (x-axis), 0.44 mm superior-inferior (y-axis), 0.27 mm anterior-posterior (z-axis), 0.29° pitch (around x-axis), 0.18° roll (around y-axis), and 0.15° yaw (around z-axis).Conclusions:
3D surface imaging has the potential to provide submillimeter level head motion tracking. This is provided that a highly accurate camera-to-LINAC frame of reference calibration can be performed and that the reference ROI is of sufficient size and contains suitable surface features for registration.
Interplay effects between dose distribution quality and positioning accuracy in total marrow irradiation with volumetric modulated arc therapy40(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4823767View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To evaluate the dosimetric consequences of inaccurate isocenter positioning during treatment of total marrow (lymph-node) irradiation (TMI-TMLI) using volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT).Methods:
Four patients treated with TMI and TMLI were randomly selected from the internal database. Plans were optimized with VMAT technique. Planning target volume (PTV) included all the body bones; for TMLI, lymph nodes and spleen were considered into the target, too. Dose prescription to PTV was 12 Gy in six fractions, two times per day for TMI, and 2 Gy in single fraction for TMLI. Ten arcs on five isocenters (two arcs for isocenter) were used to cover the upper part of PTV (i.e., from cranium to middle femurs). For each plan, three series of random shifts with values between −3 and +3 mm and three between −5 and +5 mm were applied to the five isocenters simulating involuntary patient motion during treatment. The shifts were applied separately in the three directions: left–right (L-R), anterior–posterior (A-P), and cranial–caudal (C-C). The worst case scenario with simultaneous random shifts in all directions simultaneously was considered too. Doses were recalculated for the 96 shifted plans (24 for each patient).Results:
For all shifts, differences <0.5% were found for mean doses to PTV, body, and organs at risk with volumes >100 cm3. Maximum doses increased up to 15% for C-C shifted plans. PTV covered by the 95% isodose decreased of 2%–8% revealing target underdosage with the highest values in C-C direction.Conclusions:
The correct isocenter repositioning of TMI-TMLI patients is fundamental, in particular in C-C direction, in order to avoid over- and underdosages especially in the overlap regions. For this reason, a dedicated immobilization system was developed in the authors' center to best immobilize the patient.
40(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4824150View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The advent of widespread kV-cone beam computer tomography in image guided radiation therapy and special therapeutic application of keV photons, e.g., in microbeam radiation therapy (MRT) require accurate and fast dose calculations for photon beams with energies between 40 and 200 keV. Multiple photon scattering originating from Compton scattering and the strong dependence of the photoelectric cross section on the atomic number of the interacting tissue render these dose calculations by far more challenging than the ones established for corresponding MeV beams. That is why so far developed analytical models of kV photon dose calculations fail to provide the required accuracy and one has to rely on time consuming Monte Carlo simulation techniques.Methods:
In this paper, the authors introduce a novel analytical approach for kV photon dose calculations with an accuracy that is almost comparable to the one of Monte Carlo simulations. First, analytical point dose and pencil beam kernels are derived for homogeneous media and compared to Monte Carlo simulations performed with the Geant4 toolkit. The dose contributions are systematically separated into contributions from the relevant orders of multiple photon scattering. Moreover, approximate scaling laws for the extension of the algorithm to inhomogeneous media are derived.Results:
The comparison of the analytically derived dose kernels in water showed an excellent agreement with the Monte Carlo method. Calculated values deviate less than 5% from Monte Carlo derived dose values, for doses above 1% of the maximum dose. The analytical structure of the kernels allows adaption to arbitrary materials and photon spectra in the given energy range of 40–200 keV.Conclusions:
The presented analytical methods can be employed in a fast treatment planning system for MRT. In convolution based algorithms dose calculation times can be reduced to a few minutes.
Sensitivity of volumetric modulated arc therapy patient specific QA results to multileaf collimator errors and correlation to dose volume histogram based metrics40(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4824433View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
This study investigates the impact of systematic multileaf collimator (MLC) positional errors on gamma analysis results used for quality assurance (QA) of Rapidarc treatments. In addition, this study evaluates the relationship of these gamma analysis results and clinical dose volume histogram metrics (DVH) for Rapidarc treatment plans.Methods:
Five prostate plans were modified by the introduction of systematic MLC errors. The MLC shifts to each individual active leaf introduced were 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, and 1 mm. All QA verification plans were delivered and estimated 3D patient dose or high density phantom dose were obtained based on the ArcCHECK measurement files. QA gamma analysis of 3%/3 mm and 2%/2 mm were implemented and relationships to dose differences in DVH metrics encountered due to MLC errors were determined. Tolerances of 3% and 5% for DVH metric were implemented to determine the sensitivity of gamma analysis to MLC errors. A calculation of sensitivity was determined from the number of incidences of false negative and false positive cases in gamma analysis results.Results:
The sensitivity of global gamma analysis for criteria of 3%/3 mm was 0.78 and for 2%/2 mm was 0.82. A number of instances occurred for an acceptable VMAT QA gamma index which did not indicate a DVH metric dose error greater than 5%. The correlation between global gamma analysis using criteria 3%/3 mm and DVH metric dose error were all <0.8 indicating less than a strong correlation.Conclusions:
There is a greater sensitivity for detection of dosimetric errors occurring in a Rapidarc plan using gamma criteria of 2%/2 mm than 3%/3 mm. However, there is lack of consistently strong correlation between global gamma indexes and clinical DVH metrics for PTV and bladder and rectum for Rapidarc plans. It is recommended that the sole use of gamma index for Rapidarc QA plan evaluation could be insufficient and a methodology for evaluation of delivered dose to patient is required.
40(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4824321View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Proton radiotherapy is rapidly becoming a standard treatment option for cancer. However, even though experimental data show an increase of the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) with depth, particularly at the distal end of the treatment field, a generic RBE of 1.1 is currently used in proton radiotherapy. This discrepancy might affect the effective penetration depth of the proton beam and thus the dose to the surrounding tissue and organs at risk. The purpose of this study was thus to analyze the impact of a tissue and dose dependent RBE of protons on the effective range of the proton beam in comparison to the range based on a generic RBE of 1.1.Methods:
Factors influencing the biologically effective proton range were systematically analyzed by means of treatment planning studies using the Local Effect Model (LEM IV) and the treatment planning software TRiP98. Special emphasis was put on the comparison of passive and active range modulation techniques.Results:
Beam energy, tissue type, and dose level significantly affected the biological extension of the treatment field at the distal edge. Up to 4 mm increased penetration depth as compared to the depth based on a constant RBE of 1.1. The extension of the biologically effective range strongly depends on the initial proton energy used for the most distal layer of the field and correlates with the width of the distal penumbra. Thus, the range extension, in general, was more pronounced for passive as compared to active range modulation systems, whereas the maximum RBE was higher for active systems.Conclusions:
The analysis showed that the physical characteristics of the proton beam in terms of the width of the distal penumbra have a great impact on the RBE gradient and thus also the biologically effective penetration depth of the beam.
The impact of leaf width and plan complexity on DMLC tracking of prostate intensity modulated arc therapy40(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4824434View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Intensity modulated arc therapy (IMAT) is commonly used to treat prostate cancer. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of leaf width and plan complexity on dynamic multileaf collimator (DMLC) tracking for prostate motion management during IMAT treatments.Methods:
Prostate IMAT plans were delivered with either a high-definition MLC (HDMLC) or a Millennium MLC (M-MLC) (0.25 and 0.50 cm central leaf width, respectively), with and without DMLC tracking, to a dosimetric phantom that reproduced four prostate motion traces. The plan complexity was varied by applying leaf position constraints during plan optimization. A subset of the M-MLC plans was converted for delivery with the HDMLC, isolating the effect of the different leaf widths. The gamma index was used for evaluation. Tracking errors caused by target localization, leaf fitting, and leaf adjustment were analyzed.Results:
The gamma pass rate was significantly improved with DMLC tracking compared to no tracking (p < 0.001). With DMLC tracking, the average gamma index pass rate was 98.6% (range 94.8%–100%) with the HDMLC and 98.1% (range 95.4%–99.7%) with the M-MLC, using 3%, 3 mm criteria and the planned dose as reference. The corresponding pass rates without tracking were 87.6% (range 76.2%–94.7%) and 91.1% (range 81.4%–97.6%), respectively. Decreased plan complexity improved the pass rate when static target measurements were used as reference, but not with the planned dose as reference. The main cause of tracking errors was leaf fitting errors, which were decreased by 42% by halving the leaf width.Conclusions:
DMLC tracking successfully compensated for the prostate motion. The finer leaf width of the HDMLC improved the tracking accuracy compared to the M-MLC. The tracking improvement with limited plan complexity was small and not discernible when using the planned dose as reference.
Demonstration of a software design and statistical analysis methodology with application to patient outcomes data sets40(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4824917View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
With emergence of clinical outcomes databases as tools utilized routinely within institutions, comes need for software tools to support automated statistical analysis of these large data sets and intrainstitutional exchange from independent federated databases to support data pooling. In this paper, the authors present a design approach and analysis methodology that addresses both issues.Methods:
A software application was constructed to automate analysis of patient outcomes data using a wide range of statistical metrics, by combining use of C#.Net and R code. The accuracy and speed of the code was evaluated using benchmark data sets.Results:
The approach provides data needed to evaluate combinations of statistical measurements for ability to identify patterns of interest in the data. Through application of the tools to a benchmark data set for dose-response threshold and to SBRT lung data sets, an algorithm was developed that uses receiver operator characteristic curves to identify a threshold value and combines use of contingency tables, Fisher exact tests, Welch t-tests, and Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests to filter the large data set to identify values demonstrating dose-response. Kullback-Leibler divergences were used to provide additional confirmation.Conclusions:
The work demonstrates the viability of the design approach and the software tool for analysis of large data sets.