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Toward adaptive radiotherapy for head and neck patients: Uncertainties in dose warping due to the choice of deformable registration algorithm
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The aims of this work were to evaluate the performance of several deformable image registration (DIR) algorithms implemented in our in-house software (NiftyReg) and the uncertainties inherent to using different algorithms for dose warping.
The authors describe a DIR based adaptive radiotherapy workflow, using CT and cone-beam CT
imaging. The transformations that mapped the anatomy between the two time points were obtained using four different DIR approaches available in NiftyReg. These included a standard unidirectional algorithm and more sophisticated bidirectional ones that encourage or ensure inverse consistency. The forward (CT-to-CBCT) deformation vector fields (DVFs) were used to propagate the CT Hounsfield units and structures to the daily geometry for “dose of the day” calculations, while the backward (CBCT-to-CT) DVFs were used to remap the dose of the day onto the planning CT (pCT). Data from five head and neck patients were used to evaluate the performance of each implementation based on geometrical matching, physical properties of the DVFs, and similarity between warped dose distributions. Geometrical matching was verified in terms of dice similarity coefficient (DSC), distance transform, false positives, and false negatives. The physical properties of the DVFs were assessed calculating the harmonic energy, determinant of the Jacobian, and inverse consistency error of the transformations. Dose distributions were displayed on the pCT dose space and compared using dose difference (DD), distance to dose difference, and dose volume histograms.
All the DIR algorithms gave similar results in terms of geometrical matching, with an average DSC of 0.85 ± 0.08, but the underlying properties of the DVFs varied in terms of smoothness and inverse consistency. When comparing the doses warped by different algorithms, we found a root mean square DD of 1.9% ± 0.8% of the prescribed dose (pD) and that an average of 9% ± 4% of voxels within the treated volume failed a 2%pD DD-test (DD2%-pp). Larger DD2%-pp was found within the high dose gradient (21% ± 6%) and regions where the CBCT quality was poorer (28% ± 9%). The differences when estimating the mean and maximum dose delivered to organs-at-risk were up to 2.0%pD and 2.8%pD, respectively.
The authors evaluated several DIR algorithms for CT-to-CBCT registrations. In spite of all methods resulting in comparable geometrical matching, the choice of DIR implementation leads to uncertainties in dose warped, particularly in regions of high gradient and/or poor imaging quality.
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