Index of content:
Volume 41, Issue 1, January 2014
CT ventilation imaging is a novel functional lung imaging modality based on deformable image registration. The authors present the first validation study of CT ventilation using positron emission tomography with68Ga-labeled nanoparticles (PET-Galligas). The authors quantify this agreement for different CT ventilation metrics and PET reconstruction parameters.Methods:
PET-Galligas ventilation scans were acquired for 12 lung cancer patients using a four-dimensional (4D) PET/CT scanner. CT ventilation images were then produced by applying B-spline deformable image registration between the respiratory correlated phases of the 4D-CT. The authors test four ventilation metrics, two existing and two modified. The two existing metrics model mechanical ventilation (alveolar air-flow) based on Hounsfield unit (HU) change (V HU) or Jacobian determinant of deformation (V Jac). The two modified metrics incorporate a voxel-wise tissue-density scaling (ρV HU and ρV Jac) and were hypothesized to better model the physiological ventilation. In order to assess the impact of PET image quality, comparisons were performed using both standard and respiratory-gated PET images with the former exhibiting better signal. Different median filtering kernels (σm = 0 or 3 mm) were also applied to all images. As in previous studies, similarity metrics included the Spearman correlation coefficient r within the segmented lung volumes, and Dice coefficient d 20 for the (0 − 20)th functional percentile volumes.Results:
The best agreement between CT and PET ventilation was obtained comparing standard PET images to the density-scaled HU metric (ρV HU) with σ m = 3 mm. This leads to correlation values in the ranges 0.22 ⩽ r ⩽ 0.76 and 0.38 ⩽ d 20 ⩽ 0.68, with and averaged over the 12 patients. Compared to Jacobian-based metrics, HU-based metrics lead to statistically significant improvements in and (p < 0.05), with density scaled metrics also showing higher than for unscaled versions (p < 0.02). and were also sensitive to image quality, with statistically significant improvements using standard (as opposed to gated) PET images and with application of median filtering.Conclusions:
The use of modified CT ventilation metrics, in conjunction with PET-Galligas and careful application of image filtering has resulted in improved correlation compared to earlier studies using nuclear medicine ventilation. However, CT ventilation and PET-Galligas do not always provide the same functional information. The authors have demonstrated that the agreement can improve for CT ventilation metrics incorporating a tissue density scaling, and also with increasing PET image quality. CT ventilation imaging has clear potential for imaging regional air volume change in the lung, and further development is warranted.
- MEDICAL PHYSICS LETTER
41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4845195View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Onboard imaging—currently performed primarily by x-ray transmission modalities—is essential in modern radiation therapy. As radiation therapy moves toward personalized medicine, molecular imaging, which views individual gene expression, may also be important onboard. Nuclear medicine methods, such as single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), are premier modalities for molecular imaging. The purpose of this study is to investigate a robotic multipinhole approach to onboard SPECT.Methods:
Computer-aided design (CAD) studies were performed to assess the feasibility of maneuvering a robotic SPECT system about a patient in position for radiation therapy. In order to obtain fast, high-quality SPECT images, a 49-pinhole SPECT camera was designed which provides high sensitivity to photons emitted from an imaging region of interest. This multipinhole system was investigated by computer-simulation studies. Seventeen hot spots 10 and 7 mm in diameter were placed in the breast region of a supine female phantom. Hot spot activity concentration was six times that of background. For the 49-pinhole camera and a reference, more conventional, broad field-of-view (FOV) SPECT system, projection data were computer simulated for 4-min scans and SPECT images were reconstructed. Hot-spot localization was evaluated using a nonprewhitening forced-choice numerical observer.Results:
The CAD simulation studies found that robots could maneuver SPECT cameras about patients in position for radiation therapy. In the imaging studies, most hot spots were apparent in the 49-pinhole images. Average localization errors for 10-mm- and 7-mm-diameter hot spots were 0.4 and 1.7 mm, respectively, for the 49-pinhole system, and 3.1 and 5.7 mm, respectively, for the reference broad-FOV system.Conclusions:
A robot could maneuver a multipinhole SPECT system about a patient in position for radiation therapy. The system could provide onboard functional and molecular imaging with 4-min scan times.
41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4851595View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To assess whether air scintillation produced during standard radiation treatments can be visualized and used to monitor a beam in a nonperturbing manner.Methods:
Air scintillation is caused by the excitation of nitrogen gas by ionizing radiation. This weak emission occurs predominantly in the 300–430 nm range. An electron-multiplication charge-coupled device camera, outfitted with an f/0.95 lens, was used to capture air scintillation produced by kilovoltage photon beams and megavoltage electron beams used in radiation therapy. The treatment rooms were prepared to block background light and a short-pass filter was utilized to block light above 440 nm.Results:
Air scintillation from an orthovoltage unit (50 kVp, 30 mA) was visualized with a relatively short exposure time (10 s) and showed an inverse falloff (r2 = 0.89). Electron beams were also imaged. For a fixed exposure time (100 s), air scintillation was proportional to dose rate (r2 = 0.9998). As energy increased, the divergence of the electron beam decreased and the penumbra improved. By irradiating a transparent phantom, the authors also showed that Cherenkov luminescence did not interfere with the detection of air scintillation. In a final illustration of the capabilities of this new technique, the authors visualized air scintillation produced during a total skin irradiation treatment.Conclusions:
Air scintillation can be measured to monitor a radiation beam in an inexpensive and nonperturbing manner. This physical phenomenon could be useful for dosimetry of therapeutic radiation beams or for online detection of gross errors during fractionated treatments.
- VISION 20/20
41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4842515View Description Hide Description
This Vision 20/20 paper considers what computational advances are likely to be implemented in clinical radiation oncology in the coming years and how the adoption of these changes might alter the practice of radiotherapy. Four main areas of likely advancement are explored: cloud computing, aggregate data analyses, parallel computation, and automation. As these developments promise both new opportunities and new risks to clinicians and patients alike, the potential benefits are weighed against the hazards associated with each advance, with special considerations regarding patient safety under new computational platforms and methodologies. While the concerns of patient safety are legitimate, the authors contend that progress toward next-generation clinical informatics systems will bring about extremely valuable developments in quality improvement initiatives, clinical efficiency, outcomes analyses, data sharing, and adaptive radiotherapy.
- RADIATION THERAPY PHYSICS
Direct leaf trajectory optimization for volumetric modulated arc therapy planning with sliding window delivery41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4835435View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The authors propose a novel optimization model for volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) planning that directly optimizes deliverable leaf trajectories in the treatment plan optimization problem, and eliminates the need for a separate arc-sequencing step.Methods:
In this model, a 360° arc is divided into a given number of arc segments in which the leaves move unidirectionally. This facilitates an algorithm that determines the optimal piecewise linear leaf trajectories for each arc segment, which are deliverable in a given treatment time. Multileaf collimator constraints, including maximum leaf speed and interdigitation, are accounted for explicitly. The algorithm is customized to allow for VMAT delivery using constant gantry speed and dose rate, however, the algorithm generalizes to variable gantry speed if beneficial.Results:
The authors demonstrate the method for three different tumor sites: a head-and-neck case, a prostate case, and a paraspinal case. The authors first obtain a reference plan for intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) using fluence map optimization and 20 intensity-modulated fields in equally spaced beam directions, which is beyond the standard of care. Modeling the typical clinical setup for the treatment sites considered, IMRT plans using seven or nine beams are also computed. Subsequently, VMAT plans are optimized by dividing the 360° arc into 20 corresponding arc segments. Assuming typical machine parameters (a dose rate of 600 MU/min, and a maximum leaf speed of 3 cm/s), it is demonstrated that the optimized VMAT plans with 2–3 min delivery time are of noticeably better quality than the 7–9 beam IMRT plans. The VMAT plan quality approaches the quality of the 20-beam IMRT benchmark plan for delivery times between 3 and 4 min.Conclusions:
The results indicate that high quality treatments can be delivered in a single arc with 20 arc segments if sufficient time is allowed for modulation in each segment.
The impact of low-Z and high-Z metal implants in IMRT: A Monte Carlo study of dose inaccuracies in commercial dose algorithms41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4829505View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The aim of the study was to evaluate the dosimetric impact of low-Z and high-Z metallic implants on IMRT plans.Methods:
Computed tomography (CT) scans of three patients were analyzed to study effects due to the presence of Titanium (low-Z), Platinum and Gold (high-Z) inserts. To eliminate artifacts in CT images, a sinogram-based metal artifact reduction algorithm was applied. IMRT dose calculations were performed on both the uncorrected and corrected images using a commercial planning system (convolution/superposition algorithm) and an in-house Monte Carlo platform. Dose differences between uncorrected and corrected datasets were computed and analyzed using gamma index (Pγ<1) and setting 2 mm and 2% as distance to agreement and dose difference criteria, respectively. Beam specific depth dose profiles across the metal were also examined.Results:
Dose discrepancies between corrected and uncorrected datasets were not significant for low-Z material. High-Z materials caused under-dosage of 20%–25% in the region surrounding the metal and over dosage of 10%–15% downstream of the hardware. Gamma index test yielded Pγ<1>99% for all low-Z cases; while for high-Z cases it returned 91% < Pγ<1< 99%. Analysis of the depth dose curve of a single beam for low-Z cases revealed that, although the dose attenuation is altered inside the metal, it does not differ downstream of the insert. However, for high-Z metal implants the dose is increased up to 10%–12% around the insert. In addition, Monte Carlo method was more sensitive to the presence of metal inserts than superposition/convolution algorithm.Conclusions:
The reduction in terms of dose of metal artifacts in CT images is relevant for high-Z implants. In this case, dose distribution should be calculated using Monte Carlo algorithms, given their superior accuracy in dose modeling in and around the metal. In addition, the knowledge of the composition of metal inserts improves the accuracy of the Monte Carlo dose calculation significantly.
41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4842555View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To develop a real-time applicator position monitoring system (RAPS) for intracavitary brachytherapy using an infrared camera and reflective markers.Methods:
3D image-guided brachytherapy requires high accuracy of applicator localization; however, applicator displacement can happen during patient transfer for imaging and treatment delivery. No continuous applicator position monitoring system is currently available. The RAPS system was developed for real-time applicator position monitoring without additional radiation dose to patients. It includes an infrared camera, reflective markers, an infrared illuminator, and image processing software. After reflective markers are firmly attached to the applicator and the patient body, applicator displacement can be measured by computing the relative change in distance between the markers. The reflective markers are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) compatible, which is suitable for MRI-guided HDR brachytherapy paradigm. In our prototype, a Microsoft Kinect sensor with a resolution of 640 by 480 pixels is used as an infrared camera. A phantom study was carried out to compare RAPS' measurements with known displacements ranging from −15 to +15 mm. A reproducibility test was also conducted.Results:
The RAPS can achieve 4 frames/s using a laptop with Intel® Core™2 Duo processor. When the pixel size is 0.95 mm, the difference between RAPS' measurements and known shift values varied from 0 to 0.8 mm with the mean value of 0.1 mm and a standard deviation of 0.44 mm. The system reproducibility was within 0.6 mm after ten reposition trials.Conclusions:
This work demonstrates the feasibility of a real-time infrared camera based gynecologic intracavitary brachytherapy applicator monitoring system. Less than 1 mm accuracy is achieved when using an off-the-shelf infrared camera.
A dual model HU conversion from MRI intensity values within and outside of bone segment for MRI-based radiotherapy treatment planning of prostate cancer41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4842575View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The lack of electron density information in magnetic resonance images (MRI) poses a major challenge for MRI-based radiotherapy treatment planning (RTP). In this study the authors convert MRI intensity values into Hounsfield units (HUs) in the male pelvis and thus enable accurate MRI-based RTP for prostate cancer patients with varying tissue anatomy and body fat contents.Methods:
T1/T2*-weighted MRI intensity values and standard computed tomography (CT) image HUs in the male pelvis were analyzed using image data of 10 prostate cancer patients. The collected data were utilized to generate a dual model HU conversion technique from MRI intensity values of the single image set separately within and outside of contoured pelvic bones. Within the bone segment local MRI intensity values were converted to HUs by applying a second-order polynomial model. This model was tuned for each patient by two patient-specific adjustments: MR signal normalization to correct shifts in absolute intensity level and application of a cutoff value to accurately represent low density bony tissue HUs. For soft tissues, such as fat and muscle, located outside of the bone contours, a threshold-based segmentation method without requirements for any patient-specific adjustments was introduced to convert MRI intensity values into HUs. The dual model HU conversion technique was implemented by constructing pseudo-CT images for 10 other prostate cancer patients. The feasibility of these images for RTP was evaluated by comparing HUs in the generated pseudo-CT images with those in standard CT images, and by determining deviations in MRI-based dose distributions compared to those in CT images with 7-field intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) with the anisotropic analytical algorithm and 360° volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) with the Voxel Monte Carlo algorithm.Results:
The average HU differences between the constructed pseudo-CT images and standard CT images of each test patient ranged from −2 to 5 HUs and from 22 to 78 HUs in soft and bony tissues, respectively. The average local absolute value differences were 11 HUs in soft tissues and 99 HUs in bones. The planning target volume doses (volumes 95%, 50%, 5%) in the pseudo-CT images were within 0.8% compared to those in CT images in all of the 20 treatment plans. The average deviation was 0.3%. With all the test patients over 94% (IMRT) and 92% (VMAT) of dose points within body (lower than 10% of maximum dose suppressed) passed the 1 mm and 1% 2D gamma index criterion. The statistical tests (t- and F-tests) showed significantly improved (p ≤ 0.05) HU and dose calculation accuracies with the soft tissue conversion method instead of homogeneous representation of these tissues in MRI-based RTP images.Conclusions:
This study indicates that it is possible to construct high quality pseudo-CT images by converting the intensity values of a single MRI series into HUs in the male pelvis, and to use these images for accurate MRI-based prostate RTP dose calculations.
41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4845095View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Different multichannel methods for film dosimetry have been proposed in the literature. Two of them are the weighted mean method and the method put forth byMicke et al. [“Multichannel film dosimetry with nonuniformity correction,” Med. Phys.38, 2523–2534 (2011)] and Mayer et al. [“Enhanced dosimetry procedures and assessment for EBT2 radiochromic film,” Med. Phys.39, 2147–2155 (2012)]. The purpose of this work was to compare their results and to develop a generalized channel-independent perturbations framework in which both methods enter as special cases.Methods:
Four models of channel-independent perturbations were compared: weighted mean, Micke–Mayer method, uniform distribution, and truncated normal distribution. A closed-form formula to calculate film doses and the associated type B uncertainty for all four models was deduced. To evaluate the models, film dose distributions were compared with planned and measured dose distributions. At the same time, several elements of the dosimetry process were compared: film type EBT2 versus EBT3, different waiting-time windows, reflection mode versus transmission mode scanning, and planned versus measured dose distribution for film calibration and for γ-index analysis. The methods and the models described in this study are publicly accessible through IRISEU. Alpha 1.1 (http://www.iriseu.com). IRISEU. is a cloud computing web application for calibration and dosimetry of radiochromic films.Results:
The truncated normal distribution model provided the best agreement between film and reference doses, both for calibration and γ-index verification, and proved itself superior to both the weighted mean model, which neglects correlations between the channels, and the Micke–Mayer model, whose accuracy depends on the properties of the sensitometric curves. With respect to the selection of dosimetry protocol, no significant differences were found between transmission and reflection mode scanning, between 75 ± 5 min and 20 ± 1 h waiting-time windows or between employing EBT2 or EBT3 films. Significantly better results were obtained when a measured dose distribution was used instead of a planned one as reference for the calibration, and when a planned dose distribution was used instead of a measured one as evaluation for the γ-analysis.Conclusions:
The truncated normal distribution model of channel-independent perturbations was found superior to the other three models under comparison and the authors propose its use for multichannel dosimetry.
41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4835475View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
In the scope of reference dosimetry of radiotherapy beams, Monte Carlo (MC) simulations are widely used to compute ionization chamber dose response accurately. Uncertainties related to the transport algorithm can be verified performing self-consistency tests, i.e., the so-called “Fano cavity test.” The Fano cavity test is based on the Fano theorem, which states that under charged particle equilibrium conditions, the charged particle fluence is independent of the mass density of the media as long as the cross-sections are uniform. Such tests have not been performed yet for MC codes simulating proton transport. The objectives of this study are to design a new Fano cavity test for proton MC and to implement the methodology in two MC codes: Geant4 and PENELOPE extended to protons (PENH).Methods:
The new Fano test is designed to evaluate the accuracy of proton transport. Virtual particles with an energy ofE 0 and a mass macroscopic cross section of are transported, having the ability to generate protons with kinetic energy E 0 and to be restored after each interaction, thus providing proton equilibrium. To perform the test, the authors use a simplified simulation model and rigorously demonstrate that the computed cavity dose per incident fluence must equal , as expected in classic Fano tests. The implementation of the test is performed in Geant4 and PENH. The geometry used for testing is a 10 × 10 cm2 parallel virtual field and a cavity (2 × 2 × 0.2 cm3 size) in a water phantom with dimensions large enough to ensure proton equilibrium.Results:
For conservative user-defined simulation parameters (leading to small step sizes), both Geant4 and PENH pass the Fano cavity test within 0.1%. However, differences of 0.6% and 0.7% were observed for PENH and Geant4, respectively, using larger step sizes. For PENH, the difference is attributed to the random-hinge method that introduces an artificial energy straggling if step size is not small enough.Conclusions:
Using conservative user-defined simulation parameters, both PENH and Geant4 pass the Fano cavity test for proton transport. Our methodology is applicable to any kind of charged particle, provided that the considered MC code is able to track the charged particle considered.
41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4842455View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
A commercial proton eyeline has been developed to treat ocular disease. Radiotherapy of intraocular lesions (e.g., uveal melanoma, age-related macular degeneration) requires sharp dose gradients to avoid critical structures like the macula and optic disc. A high dose rate is needed to limit patient gazing times during delivery of large fractional dose. Dose delivery needs to be accurate and predictable, not in the least because current treatment planning algorithms have limited dose modeling capabilities. The purpose of this paper is to determine the dosimetric properties of a new proton eyeline. These properties are compared to those of existing systems and evaluated in the context of the specific clinical requirements of ocular treatments.Methods:
The eyeline is part of a high-energy, cyclotron-based proton therapy system. The energy at the entrance of the eyeline is 105 MeV. A range modulator (RM) wheel generates the spread-out Bragg peak, while a variable range shifter system adjusts the range and spreads the beam laterally. The range can be adjusted from 0.5 up to 3.4 g/cm2; the modulation width can be varied in steps of 0.3 g/cm2 or less. Maximum field diameter is 2.5 cm. All fields can be delivered with a dose rate of 30 Gy/min or more. The eyeline is calibrated according to the IAEA TRS-398 protocol using a cylindrical ionization chamber. Depth dose distributions and dose/MU are measured with a parallel-plate ionization chamber; lateral profiles with radiochromic film. The dose/MU is modeled as a function of range, modulation width, and instantaneous MU rate with fit parameters determined per option (RM wheel).Results:
The distal fall-off of the spread-out Bragg peak is 0.3 g/cm2, larger than for most existing systems. The lateral penumbra varies between 0.9 and 1.4 mm, except for fully modulated fields that have a larger penumbra at skin. The source-to-axis distance is found to be 169 cm. The dose/MU shows a strong dependence on range (up to 4%/mm). A linear increase in dose/MU as a function of instantaneous MU rate is observed. The dose/MU model describes the measurements with an accuracy of ±2%. Neutron dose is found to be 146 ± 102 μSv/Gy at the contralateral eye and 19 ± 13 μSv/Gy at the chest.Conclusions:
Measurements show the proton eyeline meets the requirements to effectively treat ocular disease.
DCE-MRI defined subvolumes of a brain metastatic lesion by principle component analysis and fuzzy-c-means clustering for response assessment of radiation therapya)41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4842556View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To develop a pharmacokinetic modelfree framework to analyze the dynamic contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) data for assessment of response of brain metastases to radiation therapy.Methods:
Twenty patients with 45 analyzablebrain metastases had MRI scans prior to whole brainradiation therapy (WBRT) and at the end of the 2-week therapy. The volumetric DCE images covering the whole brain were acquired on a 3T scanner with approximately 5 s temporal resolution and a total scan time of about 3 min. DCE curves from all voxels of the 45 brain metastases were normalized and then temporally aligned. A DCE matrix that is constructed from the aligned DCE curves of all voxels of the 45 lesions obtained prior to WBRT is processed by principal component analysis to generate the principal components (PCs). Then, the projection coefficient maps prior to and at the end of WBRT are created for each lesion. Next, a pattern recognition technique, based upon fuzzy-c-means clustering, is used to delineate the tumor subvolumes relating to the value of the significant projection coefficients. The relationship between changes in different tumor subvolumes and treatment response was evaluated to differentiate responsive from stable and progressive tumors. Performance of the PC-defined tumor subvolume was also evaluated by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis in prediction of nonresponsive lesions and compared with physiological-defined tumor subvolumes.Results:
The projection coefficient maps of the first three PCs contain almost all response-related information in DCE curves of brain metastases. The first projection coefficient, related to the area under DCE curves, is the major component to determine response while the third one has a complimentary role. In ROC analysis, the area under curve of 0.88 ± 0.05 and 0.86 ± 0.06 were achieved for the PC-defined and physiological-defined tumor subvolume in response assessment.Conclusions:
The PC-defined subvolume of a brainmetastasis could predict tumor response to therapy similar to the physiological-defined one, while the former is determined more rapidly for clinical decision-making support.
Improvement of dose distribution in breast radiotherapy using a reversible transverse magnetic field Linac-MR unit41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4845175View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To investigate the improvement in dose distribution in tangential breast radiotherapy using a reversible transverse magnetic field that maintains the same direction of Lorentz force between two fields. The investigation has a potential application in future Linac-MR units.Methods:
Computed tomography images of four patients and magnetic fields of 0.25–1.5 Tesla (T) were used for Monte Carlo simulation. Two patients had intact breast while the other two had mastectomy. Simulations of planning and chest wall irradiation were similar to the actual clinical process. The direction of superior-inferior magnetic field for the medial treatment beam was reversed for the lateral beam.Results:
For the ipsilateral lung and heart mean doses were reduced by a mean (range) of 45.8% (27.6%–58.6%) and 26.0% (20.2%–38.9%), respectively, depending on various treatment plan setups. The mean V20 for ipsilateral lung was reduced by 55.0% (43.6%–77.3%). In addition acceptable results were shown after simulation of 0.25 T magnetic field demonstrated in dose-volume reductions of the heart, ipsilateral lung, and noninvolved skin.Conclusions:
Applying a reversible magnetic field during breast radiotherapy, not only reduces the dose to the lung and heart but also produces a sharp drop dose volume histogram for planning target volume, because of bending of the path of secondary charged particles toward the chest wall by the Lorentz force. The simulations have shown that use of the magnetic field at 1.5 T is not feasible for clinical applications due to the increase of ipsilateral chest wall skin dose in comparison to the conventional planning while 0.25 T is suitable for all patients due to dose reduction to the chest wall skin.
41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4842415View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Small animal radiation therapy has advanced significantly in recent years. Whereas in the past dose was delivered using a single beam and a lead shield for sparing of healthy tissue, conformal doses can be now delivered using more complex dedicated small animal radiotherapy systems with image guidance. The goal of this paper is to investigate dose distributions for three small animal radiation treatment modalities.Methods:
This paper presents a comparison of dose distributions generated by the three approaches—a single-field irradiator with a 200 kV beam and no image guidance, a small animal image-guided conformal system based on a modified microCT scanner with a 120 kV beam developed at Stanford University, and a dedicated conformal system, SARRP, using a 220 kV beam developed at Johns Hopkins University. The authors present a comparison of treatment plans for the three modalities using two cases: a mouse with a subcutaneous tumor and a mouse with a spontaneous lung tumor. A 5 Gy target dose was calculated using the EGSnrc Monte Carlo codes.Results:
All treatment modalities generated similar dose distributions for the subcutaneous tumor case, with the highest mean dose to the ipsilateral lung and bones in the single-field plan (0.4 and 0.4 Gy) compared to the microCT (0.1 and 0.2 Gy) and SARRP (0.1 and 0.3 Gy) plans. The lung case demonstrated that due to the nine-beam arrangements in the conformal plans, the mean doses to the ipsilateral lung, spinal cord, and bones were significantly lower in the microCT plan (2.0, 0.4, and 1.9 Gy) and the SARRP plan (1.5, 0.5, and 1.8 Gy) than in single-field irradiator plan (4.5, 3.8, and 3.3 Gy). Similarly, the mean doses to the contralateral lung and the heart were lowest in the microCT plan (1.5 and 2.0 Gy), followed by the SARRP plan (1.7 and 2.2 Gy), and they were highest in the single-field plan (2.5 and 2.4 Gy). For both cases, dose uniformity was greatest in the single-field irradiator plan followed by the SARRP plan due to the sensitivity of the lower energy microCT beam to target heterogeneities and image noise.Conclusions:
The two treatment planning examples demonstrate that modern small animal radiotherapy techniques employing image guidance, variable collimation, and multiple beam angles deliver superior dose distributions to small animal tumors as compared to conventional treatments using a single-field irradiator. For deep-seated mouse tumors, however, higher-energy conformal radiotherapy could result in higher doses to critical organs compared to lower-energy conformal radiotherapy. Treatment planning optimization for small animal radiotherapy should therefore be developed to take full advantage of the novel conformal systems.
Using LiF:Mg,Cu,P TLDs to estimate the absorbed dose to water in liquid water around an 192Ir brachytherapy source41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4851636View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The absorbed dose to water is the fundamental reference quantity for brachytherapy treatment planning systems and thermoluminescence dosimeters (TLDs) have been recognized as the most validated detectors for measurement of such a dosimetric descriptor. The detector response in a wide energy spectrum as that of an192Ir brachytherapy source as well as the specific measurement medium which surrounds the TLD need to be accounted for when estimating the absorbed dose. This paper develops a methodology based on highly sensitive LiF:Mg,Cu,P TLDs to directly estimate the absorbed dose to water in liquid water around a high dose rate 192Ir brachytherapy source.Methods:
Different experimental designs in liquid water and air were constructed to study the response of LiF:Mg,Cu,P TLDs when irradiated in several standard photon beams of the LNE-LNHB (French national metrology laboratory for ionizing radiation). Measurement strategies and Monte Carlo techniques were developed to calibrate the LiF:Mg,Cu,P detectors in the energy interval characteristic of that found when TLDs are immersed in water around an192 Ir source. Finally, an experimental system was designed to irradiate TLDs at different angles between 1 and 11 cm away from an 192 Ir source in liquid water. Monte Carlo simulations were performed to correct measured results to provide estimates of the absorbed dose to water in water around the 192 Ir source.Results:
The dose response dependence of LiF:Mg,Cu,P TLDs with the linear energy transfer of secondary electrons followed the same variations as those of published results. The calibration strategy which used TLDs in air exposed to a standard N-250 ISO x-ray beam and TLDs in water irradiated with a standard137Cs beam provided an estimated mean uncertainty of 2.8% (k = 1) in the TLD calibration coefficient for irradiations by the 192 Ir source in water. The 3D TLD measurements performed in liquid water were obtained with a maximum uncertainty of 11% (k = 1) found at 1 cm from the source. Radial dose values in water were compared against published results of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine and the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology and no significant differences (maximum value of 3.1%) were found within uncertainties except for one position at 9 cm (5.8%). At this location the background contribution relative to the TLD signal is relatively small and an unexpected experimental fluctuation in the background estimate may have caused such a large discrepancy.Conclusions:
This paper shows that reliable measurements with TLDs in complex energy spectra require a study of the detector dose response with the radiation quality and specific calibration methodologies which model accurately the experimental conditions where the detectors will be used. The authors have developed and studied a method with highly sensitive TLDs and contributed to its validation by comparison with results from the literature. This methodology can be used to provide direct estimates of the absorbed dose rate in water for irradiations with HDR192Ir brachytherapy sources.
Metallic artifact mitigation and organ-constrained tissue assignment for Monte Carlo calculations of permanent implant lung brachytherapy41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4851555View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To investigate methods of generating accurate patient-specific computational phantoms for the Monte Carlo calculation of lung brachytherapy patient dose distributions.Methods:
Four metallic artifact mitigation methods are applied to six lung brachytherapy patient computed tomography (CT) images: simple threshold replacement (STR) identifies high CT values in the vicinity of the seeds and replaces them with estimated true values; fan beam virtual sinogram replaces artifact-affected values in a virtual sinogram and performs a filtered back-projection to generate a corrected image; 3D median filter replaces voxel values that differ from the median value in a region of interest surrounding the voxel and then applies a second filter to reduce noise; and a combination of fan beam virtual sinogram and STR. Computational phantoms are generated from artifact-corrected and uncorrected images using several tissue assignment schemes: both lung-contour constrained and unconstrained global schemes are considered. Voxel mass densities are assigned based on voxel CT number or using the nominal tissue mass densities. Dose distributions are calculated using the EGSnrc user-code BrachyDose for125I, 103Pd, and 131Cs seeds and are compared directly as well as through dose volume histograms and dose metrics for target volumes surrounding surgical sutures.Results:
Metallic artifact mitigation techniques vary in ability to reduce artifacts while preserving tissue detail. Notably, images corrected with the fan beam virtual sinogram have reduced artifacts but residual artifacts near sources remain requiring additional use of STR; the 3D median filter removes artifacts but simultaneously removes detail in lung and bone. Doses vary considerably between computational phantoms with the largest differences arising from artifact-affected voxels assigned to bone in the vicinity of the seeds. Consequently, when metallic artifact reduction and constrained tissue assignment within lung contours are employed in generated phantoms, this erroneous assignment is reduced, generally resulting in higher doses. Lung-constrained tissue assignment also results in increased doses in regions of interest due to a reduction in the erroneous assignment of adipose to voxels within lung contours. Differences in dose metrics calculated for different computational phantoms are sensitive to radionuclide photon spectra with the largest differences for103Pd seeds and smallest but still considerable differences for 131Cs seeds.Conclusions:
Despite producing differences in CT images, dose metrics calculated using the STR, fan beam + STR, and 3D median filter techniques produce similar dose metrics. Results suggest that the accuracy of dose distributions for permanent implant lung brachytherapy is improved by applying lung-constrained tissue assignment schemes to metallic artifact corrected images.
41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4852895View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To develop an automated system to safeguard radiation therapy treatments by analyzing electronic treatment records and reporting treatment events.Methods:
CATERS (Computer Aided Treatment Event Recognition System) was developed to detect treatment events by retrieving and analyzing electronic treatment records. CATERS is designed to make the treatment monitoring process more efficient by automating the search of the electronic record for possible deviations from physician's intention, such as logical inconsistencies as well as aberrant treatment parameters (e.g., beam energy, dose, table position, prescription change, treatment overrides, etc). Over a 5 month period (July 2012–November 2012), physicists were assisted by the CATERS software in conducting normal weekly chart checks with the aims of (a) determining the relative frequency of particular events in the authors’ clinic and (b) incorporating these checks into the CATERS. During this study period, 491 patients were treated at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for a total of 7692 fractions.Results:
All treatment records from the 5 month analysis period were evaluated using all the checks incorporated into CATERS after the training period. About 553 events were detected as being exceptions, although none of them had significant dosimetric impact on patient treatments. These events included every known event type that was discovered during the trial period. A frequency analysis of the events showed that the top three types of detected events were couch position override (3.2%), extra cone beam imaging (1.85%), and significant couch position deviation (1.31%). The significant couch deviation is defined as the number of treatments where couch vertical exceeded two times standard deviation of all couch verticals, or couch lateral/longitudinal exceeded three times standard deviation of all couch laterals and longitudinals. On average, the application takes about 1 s per patient when executed on either a desktop computer or a mobile device.Conclusions:
CATERS offers an effective tool to detect and report treatment events. Automation and rapid processing enables electronic record interrogation daily, alerting the medical physicist of deviations potentially days prior to performing weekly check. The output of CATERS could also be utilized as an important input to failure mode and effects analysis.
Monte Carlo study for designing a dedicated “D”-shaped collimator used in the external beam radiotherapy of retinoblastoma patients41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4855855View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Retinoblastoma is the most common intraocular malignancy in the early childhood. Patients treated with external beam radiotherapy respond very well to the treatment. However, owing to the genotype of children suffering hereditary retinoblastoma, the risk of secondary radio-induced malignancies is high. The University Hospital of Essen has successfully treated these patients on a daily basis during nearly 30 years using a dedicated “D”-shaped collimator. The use of this collimator that delivers a highly conformed small radiation field, gives very good results in the control of the primary tumor as well as in preserving visual function, while it avoids the devastating side effects of deformation of midface bones. The purpose of the present paper is to propose a modified version of the “D”-shaped collimator that reduces even further the irradiation field with the scope to reduce as well the risk of radio-induced secondary malignancies. Concurrently, the new dedicated “D”-shaped collimator must be easier to build and at the same time produces dose distributions that only differ on the field size with respect to the dose distributions obtained by the current collimator in use. The scope of the former requirement is to facilitate the employment of the authors' irradiation technique both at the authors' and at other hospitals. The fulfillment of the latter allows the authors to continue using the clinical experience gained in more than 30 years.Methods:
The Monte Carlo codePENELOPE was used to study the effect that the different structural elements of the dedicated “D”-shaped collimator have on the absorbed dose distribution. To perform this study, the radiation transport through a Varian Clinac 2100 C/D operating at 6 MV was simulated in order to tally phase-space files which were then used as radiation sources to simulate the considered collimators and the subsequent dose distributions. With the knowledge gained in that study, a new, simpler, “D”-shaped collimator is proposed.Results:
The proposed collimator delivers a dose distribution which is 2.4 cm wide along the inferior-superior direction of the eyeball. This width is 0.3 cm narrower than that of the dose distribution obtained with the collimator currently in clinical use. The other relevant characteristics of the dose distribution obtained with the new collimator, namely, depth doses at clinically relevant positions, penumbrae width, and shape of the lateral profiles, are statistically compatible with the results obtained for the collimator currently in use.Conclusions:
The smaller field size delivered by the proposed collimator still fully covers the planning target volume with at least 95% of the maximum dose at a depth of 2 cm and provides a safety margin of 0.2 cm, so ensuring an adequate treatment while reducing the irradiated volume.
41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4855956View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) with gating capability has had increasing adoption in many clinics in the United States. In this new technique, dose rate, gantry rotation speed, and the leaf motion speed of multileaf collimators (MLCs) are modulated dynamically during gated beam delivery to achieve highly conformal dose coverage of the target and normal tissue sparing. Compared with the traditional gated intensity-modulated radiation therapy technique, this complicated beam delivery technique may result in larger dose errors due to the intrafraction tumor motion. The purpose of this work is to evaluate the dosimetric influence of the interplay effect for the respiration-gated VMAT technique (RapidArc, Varian Medical Systems, Palo Alto, CA). Our work consisted of two parts: (1) Investigate the interplay effect for different target residual errors during gated RapidArc delivery using a one-dimensional moving phantom capable of producing stable sinusoidal movement; (2) Evaluate the dosimetric influence in ten clinical patients’ treatment plans using a moving phantom driven with a patient-specific respiratory curve.Methods:
For the first part of this study, four plans were created with a spherical target for varying residual motion of 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, and 1.0 cm. Appropriate gating windows were applied for each. The dosimetric effect was evaluated using EDR2 film by comparing the gated delivery with static delivery. For the second part of the project, ten gated lung stereotactic body radiotherapy cases were selected and reoptimized to be delivered by the gated RapidArc technique. These plans were delivered to a phantom, and again the gated treatments were compared to static deliveries by the same methods.Results:
For regular sinusoidal motion, the dose delivered to the target was not substantially affected by the gating windows when evaluated with the gamma statistics, suggesting the interplay effect has a small role in respiratory-gated RapidArc therapy. Varied results were seen when gated therapy was performed on the patient plans that could only be attributed to differences in patient respiratory patterns. Patients whose plans had the largest percentage of pixels failing the gamma statistics exhibited irregular breathing patterns including substantial interpatient variation in depth of respiration.Conclusions:
The interplay effect has a limited impact on gated RapidArc therapy when evaluated with a linear phantom. Variations in patient breathing patterns, however, are of much greater clinical significance. Caution must be taken when evaluating patients’ respiratory efforts for gated arc therapy.