Volume 41, Issue 6, June 2014
- task group report (online only)
- radiation therapy physics
- radiation imaging physics
- radiation measurement physics
- magnetic resonance physics
- nuclear medicine physics
- thermotherapy physics
- tissue measurements
- anatomy and physiology
- radiation protection physics
- radiation biology
- review article (online only)
- books and publications
- fifty-sixth annual meeting of the american association of physicists in medicine
Index of content:
Computed tomography (CT) performance as well as dose and image quality is directly affected by the x-ray spectrum. However, the current assessment approaches of the CT x-ray spectrum require costly measurement equipment and complicated operational procedures, and are often limited to the spectrum corresponding to the center of rotation. In order to address these limitations, the authors propose an angle-dependent estimation technique, where the incident spectra across a wide range of angular trajectories can be estimated accurately with only a single phantom and a single axial scan in the absence of the knowledge of the bowtie filter.Methods:
The proposed technique uses a uniform cylindrical phantom, made of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene and positioned in an off-centered geometry. The projection data acquired with an axial scan have a twofold purpose. First, they serve as a reflection of the transmission measurements across different angular trajectories. Second, they are used to reconstruct the cross sectional image of the phantom, which is then utilized to compute the intersection length of each transmission measurement. With each CT detector element recording a range of transmission measurements for a single angular trajectory, the spectrum is estimated for that trajectory. A data conditioning procedure is used to combine information from hundreds of collected transmission measurements to accelerate the estimation speed, to reduce noise, and to improve estimation stability. The proposed spectral estimation technique was validated experimentally using a clinical scanner (Somatom Definition Flash, Siemens Healthcare, Germany) with spectra provided by the manufacturer serving as the comparison standard. Results obtained with the proposed technique were compared against those obtained from a second conventional transmission measurement technique with two materials (i.e., Cu and Al). After validation, the proposed technique was applied to measure spectra from the clinical system across a range of angular trajectories [−15°, 15°] and spectrum settings (80, 100, 120, 140 kVp).Results:
At 140 kVp, the proposed technique was comparable to the conventional technique in terms of the mean energy difference (MED, −0.29 keV) and the normalized root mean square difference (NRMSD, 0.84%) from the comparison standard compared to 0.64 keV and 1.56%, respectively, with the conventional technique. The average absolute MEDs and NRMSDs across kVp settings and angular trajectories were less than 0.61 keV and 3.41%, respectively, which indicates a high level of estimation accuracy and stability.Conclusions:
An angle-dependent estimation technique of CT x-ray spectra from rotational transmission measurements was proposed. Compared with the conventional technique, the proposed method simplifies the measurement procedures and enables incident spectral estimation for a wide range of angular trajectories. The proposed technique is suitable for rigorous research objectives as well as routine clinical quality control procedures.
41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4871039View Description Hide Description
- TASK GROUP REPORT (Online only)
41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4876299View Description Hide Description
The dosimetric impact from devices external to the patient is a complex combination of increased skin dose, reduced tumor dose, and altered dose distribution. Although small monitor unit or dose corrections are routinely made for blocking trays, ion chamber correction factors, e.g., accounting for temperature and pressure, or tissue inhomogeneities, the dose perturbation of the treatment couch top or immobilization devices is often overlooked. These devices also increase skin dose, an effect which is also often ignored or underestimated. These concerns have grown recently due to the increased use of monolithic carbon fiber couch tops which are optimal for imaging for patient position verification but cause attenuation and increased skin dose compared to the “tennis racket” style couch top they often replace. Also, arc delivery techniques have replaced stationary gantry techniques which cause a greater fraction of the dose to be delivered from posterior angles. A host of immobilization devices are available and used to increase patient positioning reproducibility, and these also have attenuation and skin dose implications which are often ignored. This report of Task Group 176 serves to present a survey of published data that illustrates the magnitude of the dosimetric effects of a wide range of devices external to the patient. The report also provides methods for modeling couch tops in treatment planning systems so the physicist can accurately compute the dosimetric effects for indexed patient treatments. Both photon and proton beams are considered. A discussion on avoidance of high density structures during beam planning is also provided. An important aspect of this report are the recommendations the authors make to clinical physicists, treatment planning system vendors, and device vendors on how to make measurements of surface dose and attenuation and how to report these values. For the vendors, an appeal is made to work together to provide accurate couch top models in planning systems.
- RADIATION THERAPY PHYSICS
Comparison of TG-43 and TG-186 in breast irradiation using a low energy electronic brachytherapy source41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4873319View Description Hide Description
Purpose: The recently updated guidelines for dosimetry in brachytherapy in TG-186 have recommended the use of model-based dosimetry calculations as a replacement for TG-43. TG-186 highlights shortcomings in the water-based approach in TG-43, particularly for low energy brachytherapy sources. The Xoft Axxent is a low energy (<50 kV) brachytherapy system used in accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI). Breast tissue is a heterogeneous tissue in terms of density and composition. Dosimetric calculations of seven APBI patients treated with Axxent were made using a model-based Monte Carlo platform for a number of tissue models and dose reporting methods and compared to TG-43 based plans.
Methods: A model of the Axxent source, the S700, was created and validated against experimental data. CT scans of the patients were used to create realistic multi-tissue/heterogeneous models with breast tissue segmented using a published technique. Alternative water models were used to isolate the influence of tissue heterogeneity and backscatter on the dose distribution. Dose calculations were performed using Geant4 according to the original treatment parameters. The effect of the Axxent balloon applicator used in APBI which could not be modeled in the CT-based model, was modeled using a novel technique that utilizes CAD-based geometries. These techniques were validated experimentally. Results were calculated using two dose reporting methods, dose to water (Dw,m) and dose to medium (Dm,m), for the heterogeneous simulations. All results were compared against TG-43-based dose distributions and evaluated using dose ratio maps and DVH metrics. Changes in skin and PTV dose were highlighted.
Results: All simulated heterogeneous models showed a reduced dose to the DVH metrics that is dependent on the method of dose reporting and patient geometry. Based on a prescription dose of 34 Gy, the average D90 to PTV was reduced by between ∼4% and ∼40%, depending on the scoring method, compared to the TG-43 result. Peak skin dose is also reduced by 10%–15% due to the absence of backscatter not accounted for in TG-43. The balloon applicator also contributed to the reduced dose. Other ROIs showed a difference depending on the method of dose reporting.
Conclusions: TG-186-based calculations produce results that are different from TG-43 for the Axxent source. The differences depend strongly on the method of dose reporting. This study highlights the importance of backscatter to peak skin dose. Tissue heterogeneities, applicator, and patient geometries demonstrate the need for a more robust dose calculation method for low energy brachytherapy sources.
41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4873322View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Although reduction of the cine electronic portal imaging device (EPID) acquisition frame rate through multiple frame averaging may reduce hardware memory burden and decrease image noise, it can hinder the continuity of soft-tissue motion leading to poor autotracking results. The impact of motion blurring and image noise on the tracking performance was investigated.Methods:
Phantom and patient images were acquired at a frame rate of 12.87 Hz with an amorphous silicon portal imager (AS1000, Varian Medical Systems, Palo Alto, CA). The maximum frame rate of 12.87 Hz is imposed by the EPID. Low frame rate images were obtained by continuous frame averaging. A previously validated tracking algorithm was employed for autotracking. The difference between the programmed and autotracked positions of a Las Vegas phantom moving in the superior-inferior direction defined the tracking error (δ). Motion blurring was assessed by measuring the area change of the circle with the greatest depth. Additionally, lung tumors on 1747 frames acquired at 11 field angles from four radiotherapy patients are manually and automatically tracked with varying frame averaging. δ was defined by the position difference of the two tracking methods. Image noise was defined as the standard deviation of the background intensity. Motion blurring and image noise are correlated with δ using Pearson correlation coefficient (R).Results:
For both phantom and patient studies, the autotracking errors increased at frame rates lower than 4.29 Hz. Above 4.29 Hz, changes in errors were negligible withδ < 1.60 mm. Motion blurring and image noise were observed to increase and decrease with frame averaging, respectively. Motion blurring and tracking errors were significantly correlated for the phantom (R = 0.94) and patient studies (R = 0.72). Moderate to poor correlation was found between image noise and tracking error with R −0.58 and −0.19 for both studies, respectively.Conclusions:
Cine EPID image acquisition at the frame rate of at least 4.29 Hz is recommended. Motion blurring in the images with frame rates below 4.29 Hz can significantly reduce the accuracy of autotracking.
Toward the development of intrafraction tumor deformation tracking using a dynamic multi-leaf collimator41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4873682View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Intrafraction deformation limits targeting accuracy in radiotherapy. Studies show tumor deformation of over 10 mm for both single tumor deformation and system deformation (due to differential motion between primary tumors and involved lymph nodes). Such deformation cannot be adapted to with current radiotherapy methods. The objective of this study was to develop and experimentally investigate the ability of a dynamic multi-leaf collimator (DMLC) tracking system to account for tumor deformation.Methods:
To compensate for tumor deformation, the DMLC tracking strategy is to warp the planned beam aperture directly to conform to the new tumor shape based on real time tumor deformation input. Two deformable phantoms that correspond to a single tumor and a tumor system were developed. The planar deformations derived from the phantom images in beam's eye view were used to guide the aperture warping. An in-house deformable image registration software was developed to automatically trigger the registration once new target image was acquired and send the computed deformation to the DMLC tracking software. Because the registration speed is not fast enough to implement the experiment in real-time manner, the phantom deformation only proceeded to the next position until registration of the current deformation position was completed. The deformation tracking accuracy was evaluated by a geometric target coverage metric defined as the sum of the area incorrectly outside and inside the ideal aperture. The individual contributions from the deformable registration algorithm and the finite leaf width to the tracking uncertainty were analyzed. Clinical proof-of-principle experiment of deformation tracking using previously acquired MR images of a lung cancer patient was implemented to represent the MRI-Linac environment. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) treatment delivered with enabled deformation tracking was simulated and demonstrated.Results:
The first experimental investigation of adapting to tumor deformation has been performed using simple deformable phantoms. For the single tumor deformation, the Au+Ao was reduced over 56% when deformation was larger than 2 mm. Overall, the total improvement was 82%. For the tumor system deformation, the Au+Ao reductions were all above 75% and the total Au+Ao improvement was 86%. Similar coverage improvement was also found in simulating deformation tracking during IMRT delivery. The deformable image registration algorithm was identified as the dominant contributor to the tracking error rather than the finite leaf width. The discrepancy between the warped beam shape and the ideal beam shape due to the deformable registration was observed to be partially compensated during leaf fitting due to the finite leaf width. The clinical proof-of-principle experiment demonstrated the feasibility of intrafraction deformable tracking for clinical scenarios.Conclusions:
For the first time, we developed and demonstrated an experimental system that is capable of adapting the MLC aperture to account for tumor deformation. This work provides a potentially widely available management method to effectively account for intrafractional tumor deformation. This proof-of-principle study is the first experimental step toward the development of an image-guided radiotherapy system to treat deforming tumors in real-time.
Motion as perturbation. II. Development of the method for dosimetric analysis of motion effects with fixed-gantry IMRT41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4873691View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
In this work, the feasibility of implementing a motion-perturbation approach to accurately estimate volumetric dose in the presence of organ motion—previously demonstrated for VMAT-–is studied for static gantry IMRT. The method's accuracy is improved for the voxels that have very low planned dose but acquire appreciable dose due to motion. The study describes the modified algorithm and its experimental validation and provides an example of a clinical application.Methods:
A contoured region-of-interest is propagated according to the predefined motion kernel throughout time-resolved 4D phantom dose grids. This timed series of 3D dose grids is produced by the measurement-guided dose reconstruction algorithm, based on an irradiation of a staticARCCHECK (AC) helical dosimeter array (Sun Nuclear Corp., Melbourne, FL). Each moving voxel collects dose over the dynamic simulation. The difference in dose-to-moving voxel vs dose-to-static voxel in-phantom forms the basis of a motion perturbation correction that is applied to the corresponding voxel in the patient dataset. A new method to synchronize the accelerator and dosimeter clocks, applicable to fixed-gantry IMRT, was developed. Refinements to the algorithm account for the excursion of low dose voxels into high dose regions, causing appreciable dose increase due to motion (LDVE correction). For experimental validation, four plans using TG-119 structure sets and objectives were produced using segmented IMRT direct machine parameters optimization in Pinnacle treatment planning system (v. 9.6, Philips Radiation Oncology Systems, Fitchburg, WI). All beams were delivered with the gantry angle of 0°. Each beam was delivered three times: (1) to the static AC centered on the room lasers; (2) to a static phantom containing a MAPCHECK2 (MC2) planar diode array dosimeter (Sun Nuclear); and (3) to the moving MC2 phantom. The motion trajectory was an ellipse in the IEC XY plane, with 3 and 1.5 cm axes. The period was 5 s, with the resulting average motion speed of 1.45 cm/s. The motion-perturbed high resolution (2 mm voxel) volumetric dose grids on the MC2 phantom were generated for each beam. From each grid, a coronal dose plane at the detector level was extracted and compared to the corresponding moving MC2 measurement, using gamma analysis with both global (G) and local (L) dose-error normalization.Results:
Using the TG-119 criteria of (3%G/3 mm), per beam average gamma analysis passing rates exceeded 95% in all cases. No individual beam had a passing rate below 91%. LDVE correction eliminated systematic disagreement patterns at the beams’ aperture edges. In a representative example, application of LDVE correction improved (2%L/2 mm) gamma analysis passing rate for an IMRT beam from 74% to 98%.Conclusions:
The effect of motion on the moving region-of-interest IMRT dose can be estimated with a standard, static phantom QA measurement, provided the motion characteristics are independently known from 4D CT or otherwise. The motion-perturbed absolute dose estimates were validated by the direct planar diode array measurements, and were found to reliably agree with them in a homogeneous phantom.
Comparison of x ray computed tomography number to proton relative linear stopping power conversion functions using a standard phantoma)41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4870956View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Adequate evaluation of the results from multi-institutional trials involving light ion beam treatments requires consideration of the planning margins applied to both targets and organs at risk. A major uncertainty that affects the size of these margins is the conversion of x ray computed tomography numbers (XCTNs) to relative linear stopping powers (RLSPs). Various facilities engaged in multi-institutional clinical trials involving proton beams have been applying significantly different margins in their patient planning. This study was performed to determine the variance in the conversion functions used at proton facilities in the U.S.A. wishing to participate in National Cancer Institute sponsored clinical trials.Methods:
A simplified method of determining the conversion function was developed using a standard phantom containing only water and aluminum. The new method was based on the premise that all scanners have their XCTNs for air and water calibrated daily to constant values but that the XCTNs for high density/high atomic number materials are variable with different scanning conditions. The standard phantom was taken to 10 different proton facilities and scanned with the local protocols resulting in 14 derived conversion functions which were compared to the conversion functions used at the local facilities.Results:
For tissues within ±300 XCTN of water, all facility functions produced converted RLSP values within ±6% of the values produced by the standard function and within 8% of the values from any other facility's function. For XCTNs corresponding to lung tissue, converted RLSP values differed by as great as ±8% from the standard and up to 16% from the values of other facilities. For XCTNs corresponding to low-density immobilization foam, the maximum to minimum values differed by as much as 40%.Conclusions:
The new method greatly simplifies determination of the conversion function, reduces ambiguity, and in the future could promote standardization between facilities. Although it was not possible from these experiments to determine which conversion function is most appropriate, the variation between facilities suggests that the margins used in some facilities to account for the uncertainty in converting XCTNs to RLSPs may be too small.
41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4873693View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Minibeam radiation therapy (MBRT) exploits the well-established tissue-sparing effect provided by the combination of submillimetric field sizes and a spatial fractionation of the dose. The aim of this work is to evaluate the feasibility and potential therapeutic gain of MBRT, in comparison with conventional radiotherapy, for osteosarcoma treatments.Methods:
Monte Carlo simulations (PENELOPE/PENEASY code) were used as a method to study the dose distributions resulting from MBRT irradiations of a rat femur and a realistic human femur phantoms. As a figure of merit, peak and valley doses and peak-to-valley dose ratios (PVDR) were assessed. Conversion of absorbed dose to normalized total dose (NTD) was performed in the human case. Several field sizes and irradiation geometries were evaluated.Results:
It is feasible to deliver a uniform dose distribution in the target while the healthy tissue benefits from a spatial fractionation of the dose. Very high PVDR values (⩾20) were achieved in the entrance beam path in the rat case. PVDR values ranged from 2 to 9 in the human phantom. NTD2.0 of 87 Gy might be reached in the tumor in the human femur while the healthy tissues might receive valley NTD2.0 lower than 20 Gy. The doses in the tumor and healthy tissues might be significantly higher and lower than the ones commonly delivered used in conventional radiotherapy.Conclusions:
The obtained dose distributions indicate that a gain in normal tissue sparing might be expected. This would allow the use of higher (and potentially curative) doses in the tumor. Biological experiments are warranted.
41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4873679View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Due to the current interest in MRI-guided radiotherapy, the magnetic properties of the materials commonly used in radiotherapy are becoming increasingly important. In this paper, measurement results for the magnetization (BH) curves of a range of sintered heavy tungsten alloys used in radiation shielding and collimation are presented.Methods:
Sintered heavy tungsten alloys typically contain >90 % tungsten and <10 % of a combination of iron, nickel, and copper binders. Samples of eight different grades of sintered heavy tungsten alloys with varying binder content were investigated. Using a superconducting quantum interference detector magnetometer, the induced magnetic moment m was measured for each sample as a function of applied external field H 0 and the BH curve derived.Results:
The iron content of the alloys was found to play a dominant role, directly influencing the magnetization M and thus the nonlinearity of the BH curve. Generally, the saturation magnetization increased with increasing iron content of the alloy. Furthermore, no measurable magnetization was found for all alloys without iron content, despite containing up to 6% of nickel. For two samples from different manufacturers but with identical quoted nominal elemental composition (95% W, 3.5% Ni, 1.5% Fe), a relative difference in the magnetization of 11%–16% was measured.Conclusions:
The measured curves show that the magnetic properties of sintered heavy tungsten alloys strongly depend on the iron content, whereas the addition of nickel in the absence of iron led to no measurable effect. Since a difference in the BH curves for two samples with identical quoted nominal composition from different manufacturers was observed, measuring of the BH curve for each individual batch of heavy tungsten alloys is advisable whenever accurate knowledge of the magnetic properties is crucial. The obtained BH curves can be used in FEM simulations to predict the magnetic impact of sintered heavy tungsten alloys.
Absolute calibration of the Gamma Knife® Perfexion™ and delivered dose verification using EPR/alanine dosimetry41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4873686View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Elekta Leksell Gamma Knife® (LGK) is a radiotherapy beam machine whose features are not compliant with the international calibration protocols for radiotherapy. In this scope, the Laboratoire National Henri Becquerel and the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital decided to conceive a new LKG dose calibration method and to compare it with the currently used one. Furthermore, the accuracy of the dose delivered by the LGK machine was checked using an “end-to-end” test. This study also aims to compare doses delivered by the two latest software versions of the Gammaplan treatment planning system (TPS).Methods:
The dosimetric method chosen is the electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) of alanine. Dose rate (calibration) verification was done without TPS using a spherical phantom. Absolute calibration was done with factors calculated by Monte Carlo simulation (MCNP-X). For “end-to-end” test, irradiations in an anthropomorphic head phantom, close to real treatment conditions, are done using the TPS in order to verify the delivered dose.Results:
The comparison of the currently used calibration method with the new one revealed a deviation of +0.8% between the dose rates measured by ion chamber and EPR/alanine. For simple fields configuration (less than 16 mm diameter), the “end-to-end” tests showed out average deviations of −1.7% and −0.9% between the measured dose and the calculated dose by Gammaplan v9 and v10, respectively.Conclusions:
This paper shows there is a good agreement between the new calibration method and the currently used one. There is also a good agreement between the calculated and delivered doses especially for Gammaplan v10.
41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4875687View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Explore the feasibility and impact of a streamlined failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) using a structured process that is designed to minimize staff effort.Methods:
FMEA for the external beam process was conducted at an affiliate radiation oncology center that treats approximately 60 patients per day. A structured FMEA process was developed which included clearly defined roles and goals for each phase. A core group of seven people was identified and a facilitator was chosen to lead the effort. Failure modes were identified and scored according to the FMEA formalism. A risk priority number,RPN, was calculated and used to rank failure modes. Failure modes with RPN > 150 received safety improvement interventions. Staff effort was carefully tracked throughout the project.Results:
Fifty-two failure modes were identified, 22 collected during meetings, and 30 from take-home worksheets. The four top-ranked failure modes were: delay in film check, missing pacemaker protocol/consent, critical structures not contoured, and pregnant patient simulated without the team's knowledge of the pregnancy. These four failure modes hadRPN > 150 and received safety interventions. The FMEA was completed in one month in four 1-h meetings. A total of 55 staff hours were required and, additionally, 20 h by the facilitator.Conclusions:
Streamlined FMEA provides a means of accomplishing a relatively large-scale analysis with modest effort. One potential value of FMEA is that it potentially provides a means of measuring the impact of quality improvement efforts through a reduction in risk scores. Future study of this possibility is needed.
Pilot study for compact microbeam radiation therapy using a carbon nanotube field emission micro-CT scanner41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4873683View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Microbeam radiation therapy (MRT) is defined as the use of parallel, microplanar x-ray beams with an energy spectrum between 50 and 300 keV for cancer treatment and brain radiosurgery. Up until now, the possibilities of MRT have mainly been studied using synchrotron sources due to their high flux (100s Gy/s) and approximately parallel x-ray paths. The authors have proposed a compact x-ray based MRT system capable of delivering MRT dose distributions at a high dose rate. This system would employ carbon nanotube (CNT) field emission technology to create an x-ray source array that surrounds the target of irradiation. Using such a geometry, multiple collimators would shape the irradiation from this array into multiple microbeams that would then overlap or interlace in the target region. This pilot study demonstrates the feasibility of attaining a high dose rate and parallel microbeam beams using such a system.Methods:
The microbeam dose distribution was generated by our CNT micro-CT scanner (100μm focal spot) and a custom-made microbeam collimator. An alignment assembly was fabricated and attached to the scanner in order to collimate and superimpose beams coming from different gantry positions. The MRT dose distribution was measured using two orthogonal radiochromic films embedded inside a cylindrical phantom. This target was irradiated with microbeams incident from 44 different gantry angles to simulate an array of x-ray sources as in the proposed compact CNT-based MRT system. Finally, phantom translation in a direction perpendicular to the microplanar beams was used to simulate the use of multiple parallel microbeams.Results:
Microbeams delivered from 44 gantry angles were superimposed to form a single microbeam dose distribution in the phantom with a FWHM of 300μm (calculated value was 290 μm). Also, during the multiple beam simulation, a peak to valley dose ratio of ∼10 was found when the phantom translation distance was roughly 4x the beam width. The first prototype CNT-based x-ray tube dedicated to the development of compact MRT technology development was proposed and planned based on the preliminary experimental results presented here and the previous corresponding Monte Carlo simulations.Conclusions:
The authors have demonstrated the feasibility of creating microbeam dose distributions at a high dose rate using a proposed compact MRT system. The flexibility of CNT field emission x-ray sources could possibly bring compact and low cost MRT devices to the larger research community and assist in the translational research of this promising new approach to radiation therapy.
A DVH-guided IMRT optimization algorithm for automatic treatment planning and adaptive radiotherapy replanning41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4875700View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To develop a novel algorithm that incorporates prior treatment knowledge into intensity modulated radiation therapy optimization to facilitate automatic treatment planning and adaptive radiotherapy (ART) replanning.Methods:
The algorithm automatically creates a treatment plan guided by the DVH curves of a reference plan that contains information on the clinician-approved dose-volume trade-offs among different targets/organs and among different portions of a DVH curve for an organ. In ART, the reference plan is the initial plan for the same patient, while for automatic treatment planning the reference plan is selected from a library of clinically approved and delivered plans of previously treated patients with similar medical conditions and geometry. The proposed algorithm employs a voxel-based optimization model and navigates the large voxel-based Pareto surface. The voxel weights are iteratively adjusted to approach a plan that is similar to the reference plan in terms of the DVHs. If the reference plan is feasible but not Pareto optimal, the algorithm generates a Pareto optimal plan with the DVHs better than the reference ones. If the reference plan is too restricting for the new geometry, the algorithm generates a Pareto plan with DVHs close to the reference ones. In both cases, the new plans have similar DVH trade-offs as the reference plans.Results:
The algorithm was tested using three patient cases and found to be able to automatically adjust the voxel-weighting factors in order to generate a Pareto plan with similar DVH trade-offs as the reference plan. The algorithm has also been implemented on a GPU for high efficiency.Conclusions:
A novel prior-knowledge-based optimization algorithm has been developed that automatically adjust the voxel weights and generate a clinical optimal plan at high efficiency. It is found that the new algorithm can significantly improve the plan quality and planning efficiency in ART replanning and automatic treatment planning.
Angular dependence of the response of the nanoDot OSLD system for measurements at depth in clinical megavoltage beams41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4875698View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The purpose of this investigation was to assess the angular dependence of a commercial optically stimulated luminescence dosimeter (OSLD) dosimetry system in MV x-ray beams at depths beyondd max and to find ways to mitigate this dependence for measurements in phantoms.Methods:
Two special holders were designed which allow a dosimeter to be rotated around the center of its sensitive volume. The dosimeter's sensitive volume is a disk, 5 mm in diameter and 0.2 mm thick. The first holder rotates the disk in the traditional way. It positions the disk perpendicular to the beam (gantry pointing to the floor) in the initial position (0°). When the holder is rotated the angle of the disk towards the beam increases until the disk is parallel with the beam (“edge on,” 90°). This is referred to as Setup 1. The second holder offers a new, alternative measurement position. It positions the disk parallel to the beam for all angles while rotating around its center (Setup 2). Measurements with five to ten dosimeters per point were carried out for 6 MV at 3 and 10 cm depth. Monte Carlo simulations using GEANT4 were performed to simulate the response of the active detector material for several angles. Detector and housing were simulated in detail based on microCT data and communications with the manufacturer. Various material compositions and an all-water geometry were considered.Results:
For the traditional Setup 1 the response of the OSLD dropped on average by 1.4% ± 0.7% (measurement) and 2.1% ± 0.3% (Monte Carlo simulation) for the 90° orientation compared to 0°. Monte Carlo simulations also showed a strong dependence of the effect on the composition of the sensitive layer. Assuming the layer to completely consist of the active material (Al2O3) results in a 7% drop in response for 90° compared to 0°. Assuming the layer to be completely water, results in a flat response within the simulation uncertainty of about 1%. For the new Setup 2, measurements and Monte Carlo simulations found the angular dependence of the dosimeter to be below 1% and within the measurement uncertainty.Conclusions:
The dosimeter system exhibits a small angular dependence of approximately 2% which needs to be considered for measurements involving other than normal incident beams angles. This applies in particular to clinicalin vivo measurements where the orientation of the dosimeter is dictated by clinical circumstances and cannot be optimized as otherwise suggested here. When measuring in a phantom, the proposed new setup should be considered. It changes the orientation of the dosimeter so that a coplanar beam arrangement always hits the disk shaped detector material from the thin side and thereby reduces the angular dependence of the response to within the measurement uncertainty of about 1%. This improvement makes the dosimeter more attractive for clinical measurements with multiple coplanar beams in phantoms, as the overall measurement uncertainty is reduced. Similarly, phantom based postal audits can transition from the traditional TLD to the more accurate and convenient OSLD.
Optimizing mini-ridge filter thickness to reduce proton treatment times in a spot-scanning synchrotron systema)41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4876276View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Study the contributors to treatment time as a function of Mini-Ridge Filter (MRF) thickness to determine the optimal choice for breath-hold treatment of lung tumors in a synchrotron-based spot-scanning proton machine.Methods:
Five different spot-scanning nozzles were simulated in TOPAS: four with MRFs of varying maximal thicknesses (6.15–24.6 mm) and one with no MRF. The MRFs were designed with ridges aligned along orthogonal directions transverse to the beam, with the number of ridges (4–16) increasing with MRF thickness. The material thickness given by these ridges approximately followed a Gaussian distribution. Using these simulations, Monte Carlo data were generated for treatment planning commissioning. For each nozzle, standard and stereotactic (SR) lung phantom treatment plans were created and assessed for delivery time and plan quality.Results:
Use of a MRF resulted in a reduction of the number of energy layers needed in treatment plans, decreasing the number of synchrotron spills needed and hence the treatment time. For standard plans, the treatment time per field without a MRF was 67.0 ± 0.1 s, whereas three of the four MRF plans had treatment times of less than 20 s per field; considered sufficiently low for a single breath-hold. For SR plans, the shortest treatment time achieved was 57.7 ± 1.9 s per field, compared to 95.5 ± 0.5 s without a MRF. There were diminishing gains in time reduction as the MRF thickness increased. Dose uniformity of the PTV was comparable across all plans; however, when the plans were normalized to have the same coverage, dose conformality decreased with MRF thickness, as measured by the lung V20%.Conclusions:
Single breath-hold treatment times for plans with standard fractionation can be achieved through the use of a MRF, making this a viable option for motion mitigation in lung tumors. For stereotactic plans, while a MRF can reduce treatment times, multiple breath-holds would still be necessary due to the limit imposed by the proton extraction time. To balance treatment time and normal tissue dose, the ideal MRF choice was shown to be the thinnest option that is able to achieve the desired breath-hold timing.
41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4875976View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The authors describe a novel method of predicting mass density and elemental mass fractions of tissues from dual energy CT (DECT) data for Monte Carlo (MC) based dose planning.Methods:
The relative electron density ϱ e and effective atomic number Z eff are calculated for 71 tabulated tissue compositions. For MC simulations, the mass density is derived via one linear fit in the ϱe that covers the entire range of tissue compositions (except lung tissue). Elemental mass fractions are predicted from the ϱe and the Z eff in combination. Since particle therapy dose planning and verification is especially sensitive to accurate material assignment, differences to the ground truth are further analyzed for mass density, I-value predictions, and stopping power ratios (SPR) for ions. Dose studies with monoenergetic proton and carbon ions in 12 tissues which showed the largest differences of single energy CT (SECT) to DECT are presented with respect to range uncertainties. The standard approach (SECT) and the new DECT approach are compared to reference Bragg peak positions.Results:
Mean deviations to ground truth in mass density predictions could be reduced for soft tissue from (0.5±0.6)% (SECT) to (0.2±0.2)% with the DECT method. Maximum SPR deviations could be reduced significantly for soft tissue from 3.1% (SECT) to 0.7% (DECT) and for bone tissue from 0.8% to 0.1%. MeanI-value deviations could be reduced for soft tissue from (1.1±1.4%, SECT) to (0.4±0.3%) with the presented method. Predictions of elemental composition were improved for every element. Mean and maximum deviations from ground truth of all elemental mass fractions could be reduced by at least a half with DECT compared to SECT (except soft tissue hydrogen and nitrogen where the reduction was slightly smaller). The carbon and oxygen mass fraction predictions profit especially from the DECT information. Dose studies showed that most of the 12 selected tissues would profit significantly (up to 2.2%) from DECT material decomposition with no noise present. The ϱe associated with an absolute noise of ±0.01 and Z eff associated with an absolute noise of ±0.2 resulted in ±10% standard variation in the carbon and oxygen mass fraction prediction.Conclusions:
Accurate stopping power prediction is mainly determined by the correct mass density prediction. Theoretical improvements in range predictions with DECT data in the order of 0.1%–2.1% were observed. Further work is needed to quantify the potential improvements from DECT compared to SECT in measured image data associated with artifacts and noise.
41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4876297View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Modulated electron radiation therapy (MERT) represents an active area of interest that offers the potential to improve healthy tissue sparing in treatment of certain cancer cases. Challenges remain however in accurate beamlet dose calculation, plan optimization, collimation method, and delivery accuracy. In this work, the authors investigate the accuracy and efficiency of an end-to-end MERT plan and automated delivery method.Methods:
Treatment planning was initiated on a previously treated whole breast irradiation case including an electron boost. All dose calculations were performed using Monte Carlo methods and beam weights were determined using a research-based treatment planning system capable of inverse optimization. The plan was delivered to radiochromic film placed in a water equivalent phantom for verification, using an automated motorized tertiary collimator.Results:
The automated delivery, which covered four electron energies, 196 subfields, and 6183 total MU was completed in 25.8 min, including 6.2 min of beam-on time. The remainder of the delivery time was spent on collimator leaf motion and the automated interfacing with the accelerator in service mode. Comparison of the planned and delivered film dose gave 3%/3mm gamma pass rates of 62.1%, 99.8%, 97.8%, 98.3%, and 98.7% for the 9, 12, 16, and 20 MeV, and combined energy deliveries, respectively. Delivery was also performed with a MapCHECK device and resulted in 3%/3 mm gamma pass rates of 88.8%, 86.1%, 89.4%, and 94.8% for the 9, 12, 16, and 20 MeV energies, respectively.Conclusions:
Results of the authors’ study showed that an accurate delivery utilizing an add-on tertiary electron collimator is possible using Monte Carlo calculated plans and inverse optimization, which brings MERT closer to becoming a viable option for physicians in treating superficial malignancies.
41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4876378View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and volumetric modulated arc therapy have become standard treatments but are more sensitive to anatomical variations than 3D conformal techniques. To correct for inter- and intrafraction anatomical variations, fast and easy to implement methods are needed. Here, the authors propose a full dosimetric IMRT correction that finds a compromise in-between basic repositioning (the current clinical practice) and full replanning. It simplifies replanning by avoiding a recontouring step and a full dose calculation. It surpasses repositioning by updating the preoptimized fluence and monitor units (MU) using a limited number of fiducial points and a pretreatment (CB)CT. To adapt the fluence the fiducial points were projected in the beam's eye view (BEV). To adapt the MUs, point dose calculation towards the same fiducial points were performed. The proposed method is intrinsically fast and robust, and simple to understand for operators, because of the use of only four fiducial points and the beam data based point dose calculations.Methods:
To perform our dosimetric adaptation, two fluence corrections in the BEV are combined with two MU correction steps along the beam's path. (1) A transformation of the fluence map such that it is realigned with the current target geometry. (2) A correction for an unintended scaling of the penumbra margin when the treatment beams scale to the current target size. (3) A correction for the target depth relative to the body contour and (4) a correction for the target distance to the source. The impact of the correction strategy and its individual components was evaluated by simulations on a virtual prostate phantom. This heterogeneous reference phantom was systematically subjected to population based prostate transformations to simulate interfraction variations. Additionally, a patient example illustrated the clinical practice. The correction strategy was evaluated using both dosimetric (CTV mean dose, conformity index) and clinical (tumor control probability, and normal tissue complication probability) measures.Results:
Based on the current experiments, the intended target dose and tumor control probability could be assured by the proposed method (TCP ≥ TCPintended). Additionally, the conformity index error was more than halved compared to the current clinical practice (ΔCI95% from 40% to 16%) resulting in improved organ at risk protection. All the individual correction steps had an added value to the full correction.Conclusions:
A limited number of fiducial points (no organ contours required) and an in-room (CB)CT are sufficient to perform a full dosimetric correction for IMRT plans. In the presence of interfraction variation, the corrected plans show superior dose distributions compared to our current clinical practice.
- RADIATION IMAGING PHYSICS
41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4873321View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
That scattered radiation negatively impacts the quality of medical radiographic imaging is well known. In mammography, even slight amounts of scatter reduce the high contrast required for subtle soft-tissue imaging. In current clinical mammography, image contrast is partially improved by use of an antiscatter grid. This form of scatter rejection comes with a sizeable dose penalty related to the concomitant elimination of valuable primary radiation. Digital mammography allows the use of image processing as a method of scatter correction that might avoid effects that negatively impact primary radiation, while potentially providing more contrast improvement than is currently possible with a grid. For this approach to be feasible, a detailed characterization of the scatter is needed. Previous research has modeled scatter as a constant background that serves as a DC bias across the imaging surface. The goal of this study was to provide a more substantive data set for characterizing the spatially-variant features of scatter radiation at the image detector of modern mammography units.Methods:
This data set was acquired from a model of the radiation beam as a matrix of very narrow rays or pencil beams. As each pencil beam penetrates tissue, the pencil widens in a predictable manner due to the production of scatter. The resultant spreading of the pencil beam at the detector surface can be characterized by two parameters: mean radial extent (MRE) and scatter fraction (SF). The SF and MRE were calculated from measurements obtained using the beam stop method. Two digital mammography units were utilized, and the SF and MRE were found as functions of target, filter, tube potential, phantom thickness, and presence or absence of a grid. These values were then used to generate general equations allowing the SF and MRE to be calculated for any combination of the above parameters.Results:
With a grid, the SF ranged from a minimum of about 0.05 to a maximum of about 0.16, and the MRE ranged from about 3 to 13 mm. Without a grid, the SF ranged from a minimum of 0.25 to a maximum of 0.52, and the MRE ranged from about 20 to 45 mm. The SF with a grid demonstrated a mild dependence on target/filter combination and kV, whereas the SF without a grid was independent of these factors. The MRE demonstrated a complex relationship as a function of kV, with notable difference among target/filter combinations. The primary source of change in both the SF and MRE was phantom thickness.Conclusions:
Because breast tissue varies spatially in physical density and elemental content, the effective thickness of breast tissue varies spatially across the imaging field, resulting in a spatially-variant scatter distribution in the imaging field. The data generated in this study can be used to characterize the scatter contribution on a point-by-point basis, for a variety of different techniques.
Fiducial marker-based correction for involuntary motion in weight-bearing C-arm CT scanning of knees. II. Experiment41(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4873675View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
A C-arm CT system has been shown to be capable of scanning a single cadaver leg under loaded conditions by virtue of its highly flexible acquisition trajectories. In Part I of this study, using the 4D XCAT-based numerical simulation, the authors predicted that the involuntary motion in the lower body of subjects in weight-bearing positions would seriously degrade image quality and the authors suggested three motion compensation methods by which the reconstructions could be corrected to provide diagnostic image quality. Here, the authors demonstrate that a flat-panel angiography system is appropriate for scanning both legs of subjectsin vivo under weight-bearing conditions and further evaluate the three motion-correction algorithms using in vivo data.Methods:
The geometry of a C-arm CT system for a horizontal scan trajectory was calibrated using the PDS-2 phantom. The authors acquired images of two healthy volunteers while lying supine on a table, standing, and squatting at several knee flexion angles. In order to identify the involuntary motion of the lower body, nine 1-mm-diameter tantalum fiducial markers were attached around the knee. The static mean marker position in 3D, a reference for motion compensation, was estimated by back-projecting detected markers in multiple projections using calibrated projection matrices and identifying the intersection points in 3D of the back-projected rays. Motion was corrected using three different methods (described in detail previously): (1) 2D projection shifting, (2) 2D deformable projection warping, and (3) 3D rigid body warping. For quantitative image quality analysis, SSIM indices for the three methods were compared using the supine data as a ground truth.Results:
A 2D Euclidean distance-based metric of subjects’ motion ranged from 0.85 mm (±0.49 mm) to 3.82 mm (±2.91 mm) (corresponding to 2.76 to 12.41 pixels) resulting in severe motion artifacts in 3D reconstructions. Shifting in 2D, 2D warping, and 3D warping improved the SSIM in the central slice by 20.22%, 16.83%, and 25.77% in the data with the largest motion among the five datasets (SCAN5); improvement in off-center slices was 18.94%, 29.14%, and 36.08%, respectively.Conclusions:
The authors showed that C-arm CT control can be implemented for nonstandard horizontal trajectories which enabled us to scan and successfully reconstruct both legs of volunteers in weight-bearing positions. As predicted using theoretical models, the proposed motion correction methods improved image quality by reducing motion artifacts in reconstructions; 3D warping performed better than the 2D methods, especially in off-center slices.