Index of content:
Volume 42, Issue 10, October 2015
A significant number of patients suffer from craniomaxillofacial (CMF) deformity and require CMF surgery in the United States. The success of CMF surgery depends on not only the surgical techniques but also an accurate surgical planning. However, surgical planning for CMF surgery is challenging due to the absence of a patient-specific reference model. Currently, the outcome of the surgery is often subjective and highly dependent on surgeon’s experience. In this paper, the authors present an automatic method to estimate an anatomically correct reference shape of jaws for orthognathic surgery, a common type of CMF surgery.Methods:
To estimate a patient-specific jaw reference model, the authors use a data-driven method based on sparse shape composition. Given a dictionary of normal subjects, the authors first use the sparse representation to represent the midface of a patient by the midfaces of the normal subjects in the dictionary. Then, the derived sparse coefficients are used to reconstruct a patient-specific reference jaw shape.Results:
The authors have validated the proposed method on both synthetic and real patient data. Experimental results show that the authors’ method can effectively reconstruct the normal shape of jaw for patients.Conclusions:
The authors have presented a novel method to automatically estimate a patient-specific reference model for the patient suffering from CMF deformity.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4929549View Description Hide Description
- MEDICAL PHYSICS LETTER
Radiobiologically optimized couch shift: A new localization paradigm using cone-beam CT for prostate radiotherapy42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4931450View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To present a novel positioning strategy which optimizes radiation delivery by utilizing radiobiological response knowledge and evaluate its use during prostate external beam radiotherapy.Methods:
Five patients with low or intermediate risk prostate cancer were evaluated retrospectively in this IRB-approved study. For each patient, a VMAT plan with one 358° arc was generated on the planning CT (PCT) to deliver 78 Gy in 39 fractions. Five representative pretreatment cone beam CTs (CBCT) were selected for each patient. The CBCT images were registered to PCT by a human observer, which consisted of an initial automated registration with three degrees-of-freedom, followed by manual adjustment for agreement at the prostate/rectal wall interface. To determine the optimal treatment position for each CBCT, a search was performed centering on the observer-matched position (OM-position) utilizing a score function based on radiobiological and dosimetric indices (EUDprostate, D99prostate, NTCPrectum, and NTCPbladder) for the prostate, rectum, and bladder. We termed the optimal treatment position the radiobiologically optimized couch shift position (ROCS-position).Results:
The dosimetric indices, averaged over the five patients’ treatment plans, were (mean ± SD) 79.5 ± 0.3 Gy (EUDprostate), 78.2 ± 0.4 Gy (D99prostate), 11.1% ± 2.7% (NTCPrectum), and 46.9% ± 7.6% (NTCPbladder). The corresponding values from CBCT at the OM-positions were 79.5 ± 0.6 Gy (EUDprostate), 77.8 ± 0.7 Gy (D99prostate), 12.1% ± 5.6% (NTCPrectum), and 51.6% ± 15.2% (NTCPbladder), respectively. In comparison, from CBCT at the ROCS-positions, the dosimetric indices were 79.5 ± 0.6 Gy (EUDprostate), 77.3 ± 0.6 Gy (D99prostate), 8.0% ± 3.3% (NTCPrectum), and 46.9% ± 15.7% (NTCPbladder). Excessive NTCPrectum was observed on Patient 5 (19.5% ± 6.6%) corresponding to localization at OM-position, compared to the planned value of 11.7%. This was mitigated with radiobiologically optimized localization, resulting in a reduced NTCPrectum value of 11.3% ± 3.5%. Overall, the treatment position optimization resulted in similar target dose coverage with reduced risk to rectum.Conclusions:
These encouraging results illustrate the potential advantage of applying radiobiologically optimized correction for online image-guided radiotherapy of prostate patients.
- VISION 20/20
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4929559View Description Hide Description
Multimodality imaging systems such as positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) and MRI-PET are widely available, but a simultaneous CT-MRI instrument has not been developed. Synergies between independent modalities, e.g., CT, MRI, and PET/SPECT can be realized with image registration, but such postprocessing suffers from registration errors that can be avoided with synchronized data acquisition. The clinical potential of simultaneous CT-MRI is significant, especially in cardiovascular and oncologic applications where studies of the vulnerable plaque, response to cancer therapy, and kinetic and dynamic mechanisms of targeted agents are limited by current imaging technologies. The rationale, feasibility, and realization of simultaneous CT-MRI are described in this perspective paper. The enabling technologies include interior tomography, unique gantry designs, open magnet and RF sequences, and source and detector adaptation. Based on the experience with PET-CT, PET-MRI, and MRI-LINAC instrumentation where hardware innovation and performance optimization were instrumental to construct commercial systems, the authors provide top-level concepts for simultaneous CT-MRI to meet clinical requirements and new challenges. Simultaneous CT-MRI fills a major gap of modality coupling and represents a key step toward the so-called “omnitomography” defined as the integration of all relevant imaging modalities for systems biology and precision medicine.
- TASK GROUP REPORT (Online only)
Monte Carlo reference data sets for imaging research: Executive summary of the report of AAPM Research Committee Task Group 19542(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4928676View Description Hide Description
The use of Monte Carlo simulations in diagnostic medical imaging research is widespread due to its flexibility and ability to estimate quantities that are challenging to measure empirically. However, any new Monte Carlo simulation code needs to be validated before it can be used reliably. The type and degree of validation required depends on the goals of the research project, but, typically, such validation involves either comparison of simulation results to physical measurements or to previously published results obtained with established Monte Carlo codes. The former is complicated due to nuances of experimental conditions and uncertainty, while the latter is challenging due to typical graphical presentation and lack of simulation details in previous publications. In addition, entering the field of Monte Carlo simulations in general involves a steep learning curve. It is not a simple task to learn how to program and interpret a Monte Carlo simulation, even when using one of the publicly available code packages. This Task Group report provides a common reference for benchmarking Monte Carlo simulations across a range of Monte Carlo codes and simulation scenarios. In the report, all simulation conditions are provided for six different Monte Carlo simulation cases that involve common x-ray based imaging research areas. The results obtained for the six cases using four publicly available Monte Carlo software packages are included in tabular form. In addition to a full description of all simulation conditions and results, a discussion and comparison of results among the Monte Carlo packages and the lessons learned during the compilation of these results are included. This abridged version of the report includes only an introductory description of the six cases and a brief example of the results of one of the cases. This work provides an investigator the necessary information to benchmark his/her Monte Carlo simulation software against the reference cases included here before performing his/her own novel research. In addition, an investigator entering the field of Monte Carlo simulations can use these descriptions and results as a self-teaching tool to ensure that he/she is able to perform a specific simulation correctly. Finally, educators can assign these cases as learning projects as part of course objectives or training programs.
- RADIATION THERAPY PHYSICS
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4929550View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
As treatment delivery becomes more complex, there is a pressing need for robust quality assurance (QA) tools to improve efficiency and comprehensiveness while simultaneously maintaining high accuracy and sensitivity. This work aims to present the hardware and software tools developed for comprehensive QA of linear accelerator (LINAC) using only electronic portal imaging devices (EPIDs) and kV flat panel detectors.Methods:
A daily QA phantom, which includes two orthogonally positioned phantoms for QA of MV-beams and kV onboard imaging (OBI) is suspended from the gantry accessory holder to test both geometric and dosimetric components of a LINAC and an OBI. The MV component consists of a 0.5 cm water-equivalent plastic sheet incorporating 11 circular steel plugs for transmission measurements through multiple thicknesses and one resolution plug for MV-image quality testing. The kV-phantom consists of a Leeds phantom (TOR-18 FG phantom supplied by Varian) for testing low and high contrast resolutions. In the developed process, the existing LINAC tools were used to automate daily acquisition of MV and kV images and software tools were developed for simultaneous analysis of these images. A method was developed to derive and evaluate traditional QA parameters from these images [output, flatness, symmetry, uniformity, TPR20/10, and positional accuracy of the jaws and multileaf collimators (MLCs)]. The EPID-based daily QA tools were validated by performing measurements on a detuned 6 MV beam to test its effectiveness in detecting errors in output, symmetry, energy, and MLC positions. The developed QA process was clinically commissioned, implemented, and evaluated on a Varian TrueBeam LINAC (Varian Medical System, Palo Alto, CA) over a period of three months.Results:
Machine output constancy measured with an EPID (as compared against a calibrated ion-chamber) is shown to be within ±0.5%. Beam symmetry and flatness deviations measured using an EPID and a 2D ion-chamber array agree within ±0.5% and ±1.2% for crossline and inline profiles, respectively. MLC position errors of 0.5 mm can be detected using a picket fence test. The field size and phantom positioning accuracy can be determined within 0.5 mm. The entire daily QA process takes ∼15 min to perform tests for 5 photon beams, MLC tests, and imaging checks.Conclusions:
The exclusive use of EPID-based QA tools, including a QA phantom and simultaneous analysis software tools, has been demonstrated as a viable, efficient, and comprehensive process for daily evaluation of LINAC performance.
Lung motion estimation using dynamic point shifting: An innovative model based on a robust point matching algorithm42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4929556View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Image-guided radiotherapy is an advanced 4D radiotherapy technique that has been developed in recent years. However, respiratory motion causes significant uncertainties in image-guided radiotherapy procedures. To address these issues, an innovative lung motion estimation model based on a robust point matching is proposed in this paper.Methods:
An innovative robust point matching algorithm using dynamic point shifting is proposed to estimate patient-specific lung motion during free breathing from 4D computed tomography data. The correspondence of the landmark points is determined from the Euclidean distance between the landmark points and the similarity between the local images that are centered at points at the same time. To ensure that the points in the source image correspond to the points in the target image during other phases, the virtual target points are first created and shifted based on the similarity between the local image centered at the source point and the local image centered at the virtual target point. Second, the target points are shifted by the constrained inverse function mapping the target points to the virtual target points. The source point set and shifted target point set are used to estimate the transformation function between the source image and target image.Results:
The performances of the authors’ method are evaluated on two publicly available DIR-lab and POPI-model lung datasets. For computing target registration errors on 750 landmark points in six phases of the DIR-lab dataset and 37 landmark points in ten phases of the POPI-model dataset, the mean and standard deviation by the authors’ method are 1.11 and 1.11 mm, but they are 2.33 and 2.32 mm without considering image intensity, and 1.17 and 1.19 mm with sliding conditions. For the two phases of maximum inhalation and maximum exhalation in the DIR-lab dataset with 300 landmark points of each case, the mean and standard deviation of target registration errors on the 3000 landmark points of ten cases by the authors’ method are 1.21 and 1.04 mm. In the EMPIRE10 lung registration challenge, the authors’ method ranks 24 of 39. According to the index of the maximum shear stretch, the authors’ method is also efficient to describe the discontinuous motion at the lung boundaries.Conclusions:
By establishing the correspondence of the landmark points in the source phase and the other target phases combining shape matching and image intensity matching together, the mismatching issue in the robust point matching algorithm is adequately addressed. The target registration errors are statistically reduced by shifting the virtual target points and target points. The authors’ method with consideration of sliding conditions can effectively estimate the discontinuous motion, and the estimated motion is natural. The primary limitation of the proposed method is that the temporal constraints of the trajectories of voxels are not introduced into the motion model. However, the proposed method provides satisfactory motion information, which results in precise tumor coverage by the radiation dose during radiotherapy.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4929636View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To develop a quantitative early decision making metric for prediction of breathing pattern and irregular breathing and validate the metric in a large patient population receiving clinical phase-sorted four-dimensional computed tomography (4DCT).Methods:
This study employed three patient cohorts. The first cohort contained 47 patients, imaged with a nonclinical tidal volume metric. The second cohort contained a sample of 256 patients who received a clinical 4DCT. The third cohort contained 86 patients who received three 4DCT scans at 1-week increment during the course of radiotherapy. The second and third cohorts did not have tidal volume measurements, as per standard radiation oncology clinical practice. Based on a previously published technique that used a single abdominal surrogate, the ratio of extreme inhalation tidal volume to normal inhalation tidal volume (κ) metric was calculated and the patient breathing pattern was characterized. The use of a single surrogate precluded the use of a κ determined by tidal volume, so a κ rel was defined based on the amplitude of the surrogate. Patients were classified as either Type 1 or Type 2, based on a previously published technique, where Type 1 patients were apneic at end of exhalation and Type 2 patients exhibited forced respiration. The Ansari–Bradley test was used to determine the statistical similarity between the Type 1 and Type 2 distributions. A Kruskal–Wallis one way analysis of variance was used to determine the statistical similarities among the classified breathing types, κ rel, and the qualified medical physicist denoted breathing classification (regular or irregular). Receiver operator characteristic curves were used to quantitatively determine optimal cutoff value and efficiency cutoff value to provide a quantitative early warning of irregular breathing during 4DCT procedures.Results:
The statistical tests show a significant consistency for the breathing pattern classifications between the physiologically measured cohort #1 and the remaining cohorts. The classification types were statistically different between Type 1 and Type 2 patients over all cohorts. Values of κ rel in excess of 1.72 indicated a substantial presence of irregular breathing that could negatively affect the quality of a 4DCT image dataset. Values of κ rel in lower than 1.45 indicated minimal presence of irregular breathing. For values of κ rel such that j κ ≤ κ rel ≤ τ κ , the decision to reacquire the 4DCT would be at the discretion of the physician. This accounted for only 11.9% of the patients in this study. The magnitude of κ rel held consistent over three weeks of treatment for 73% of the patients in cohort #3.Conclusions:
The decision making metric based on κ was shown to be an accurate classifier of regular and irregular breathing patterns in a large patient population. Breathing type, as defined in a previous published work, was accurately classified by κ rel with the use of a single respiratory surrogate compared to the physiological use of multiple respiratory surrogates. This work provided a quantitative early decision making metric to quickly and accurately assess breathing patterns as well as the presence and magnitude of irregular breathing during 4DCT.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4929978View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To build Monte Carlo (MC) models of two ultrasound (US) probes and to quantify the effect of beam attenuation due to the US probes for radiation therapy delivered under real-time US image guidance.Methods:
MC models of two Philips US probes, an X6-1 matrix-array transducer and a C5-2 curved-array transducer, were built based on their megavoltage (MV) CT images acquired in a Tomotherapy machine with a 3.5 MV beam in the EGSnrc, BEAMnrc, and DOSXYZnrc codes. Mass densities in the probes were assigned based on an electron density calibration phantom consisting of cylinders with mass densities between 0.2 and 8.0 g/cm3. Beam attenuation due to the US probes in horizontal (for both probes) and vertical (for the X6-1 probe) orientation was measured in a solid water phantom for 6 and 15 MV (15 × 15) cm2 beams with a 2D ionization chamber array and radiographic films at 5 cm depth. The MC models of the US probes were validated by comparison of the measured dose distributions and dose distributions predicted by MC. Attenuation of depth dose in the (15 × 15) cm2 beams and small circular beams due to the presence of the probes was assessed by means of MC simulations.Results:
The 3.5 MV CT number to mass density calibration curve was found to be linear with R 2 > 0.99. The maximum mass densities in the X6-1 and C5-2 probes were found to be 4.8 and 5.2 g/cm3, respectively. Dose profile differences between MC simulations and measurements of less than 3% for US probes in horizontal orientation were found, with the exception of the penumbra region. The largest 6% dose difference was observed in dose profiles of the X6-1 probe placed in vertical orientation, which was attributed to inadequate modeling of the probe cable. Gamma analysis of the simulated and measured doses showed that over 96% of measurement points passed the 3%/3 mm criteria for both probes placed in horizontal orientation and for the X6-1 probe in vertical orientation. The X6-1 probe in vertical orientation caused the highest attenuation of the 6 and 15 MV beams, which at 10 cm depth accounted for 33% and 43% decrease compared to the respective (15 × 15) cm2 open fields. The C5-2 probe in horizontal orientation, on the other hand, caused a dose increase of 10% and 53% for the 6 and 15 MV beams, respectively, in the buildup region at 0.5 cm depth. For the X6-1 probe in vertical orientation, the dose at 5 cm depth for the 3-cm diameter 6 MV and 5-cm diameter 15 MV beams was attenuated compared to the corresponding open fields to a greater degree by 65% and 43%, respectively.Conclusions:
MC models of two US probes used for real-time image guidance during radiotherapy have been built. Due to the high beam attenuation of the US probes, the authors generally recommend avoiding delivery of treatment beams that intersect the probe. However, the presented MC models can be effectively integrated into US-guided radiotherapy treatment planning in cases for which beam avoidance is not practical due to anatomy geometry.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4930060View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
This study describes the implementation of a directional source biasing (DSB) scheme for efficiently simulating Cobalt-60 treatment heads using the BEAMnrc Monte Carlo code. Previous simulation of Co-60 beams with BEAMnrc was impractical because of the time required to track photons not directed into the treatment field and to simulate secondary charged particles.Methods:
In DSB, efficiency is increased by splitting each photon emitted by the Co-60 source a user-defined number of times. Only those split primary photons directed into a user-defined splitting field (encompassing the treatment field) are sampled, yielding many low-weight photons directed into the field. Efficiency can be further increased by taking advantage of radial symmetry at the top of the treatment head to reduce the number of split primary photons tracked in this portion. There is also an option to generate contaminant electrons in DSB.Results:
The DSB scheme in BEAMnrc increases the photon fluence calculation efficiency in a 10 × 10 cm2 Co-60 beam by a factor of 1800 with a concurrent increase in contaminant electron fluence calculation efficiency by a factor of 1200. Implementation of DSB in beampp, a C++ code for accelerator simulations based on EGSnrc and the C++ class library, egspp, increases photon fluence efficiency by a factor of 2800 and contaminant electron fluence efficiency by a factor of 1600. Optimum splitting numbers are in the range of 20 000–40 000. For dose calculations in a water phantom (0.5 × 0.5 × 0.5 cm3 voxels) this translates into a factor of ∼400 increase in dose calculation efficiency (all doses > 0.5 × D max). An example calculation of the ratio of dose to water to dose to chamber (the basis of the beam quality correction factor) to within 0.2% in a realistic chamber using a full simulation of a Co-60 treatment head as a source indicates the practicality of Co-60 simulations with DSB.Conclusions:
The efficiency improvement resulting from DSB makes Monte Carlo commissioning of Co-60 beams and calculation of beam quality correction factors feasible.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4930252View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To eliminate or reduce the error to Pareto optimality that arises in Pareto surface navigation when the Pareto surface is approximated by a small number of plans.Methods:
The authors propose to project the navigated plan onto the Pareto surface as a postprocessing step to the navigation. The projection attempts to find a Pareto optimal plan that is at least as good as or better than the initial navigated plan with respect to all objective functions. An augmented form of projection is also suggested where dose–volume histogram constraints are used to prevent that the projection causes a violation of some clinical goal. The projections were evaluated with respect to planning for intensity modulated radiation therapy delivered by step-and-shoot and sliding window and spot-scanned intensity modulated proton therapy. Retrospective plans were generated for a prostate and a head and neck case.Results:
The projections led to improved dose conformity and better sparing of organs at risk (OARs) for all three delivery techniques and both patient cases. The mean dose to OARs decreased by 3.1 Gy on average for the unconstrained form of the projection and by 2.0 Gy on average when dose–volume histogram constraints were used. No consistent improvements in target homogeneity were observed.Conclusions:
There are situations when Pareto navigation leaves room for improvement in OAR sparing and dose conformity, for example, if the approximation of the Pareto surface is coarse or the problem formulation has too permissive constraints. A projection onto the Pareto surface can identify an inaccurate Pareto surface representation and, if necessary, improve the quality of the navigated plan.
Gold nanoparticle induced vasculature damage in radiotherapy: Comparing protons, megavoltage photons, and kilovoltage photons42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4929975View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The purpose of this work is to investigate the radiosensitizing effect of gold nanoparticle (GNP) induced vasculature damage for proton, megavoltage (MV) photon, and kilovoltage (kV) photon irradiation.Methods:
Monte Carlo simulations were carried out using tool for particle simulation (TOPAS) to obtain the spatial dose distribution in close proximity up to 20 μm from the GNPs. The spatial dose distribution from GNPs was used as an input to calculate the dose deposited to the blood vessels. GNP induced vasculature damage was evaluated for three particle sources (a clinical spread out Bragg peak proton beam, a 6 MV photon beam, and two kV photon beams). For each particle source, various depths in tissue, GNP sizes (2, 10, and 20 nm diameter), and vessel diameters (8, 14, and 20 μm) were investigated. Two GNP distributions in lumen were considered, either homogeneously distributed in the vessel or attached to the inner wall of the vessel. Doses of 30 Gy and 2 Gy were considered, representing typical in vivo enhancement studies and conventional clinical fractionation, respectively.Results:
These simulations showed that for 20 Au-mg/g GNP blood concentration homogeneously distributed in the vessel, the additional dose at the inner vascular wall encircling the lumen was 43% of the prescribed dose at the depth of treatment for the 250 kVp photon source, 1% for the 6 MV photon source, and 0.1% for the proton beam. For kV photons, GNPs caused 15% more dose in the vascular wall for 150 kVp source than for 250 kVp. For 6 MV photons, GNPs caused 0.2% more dose in the vascular wall at 20 cm depth in water as compared to at depth of maximum dose (Dmax). For proton therapy, GNPs caused the same dose in the vascular wall for all depths across the spread out Bragg peak with 12.7 cm range and 7 cm modulation. For the same weight of GNPs in the vessel, 2 nm diameter GNPs caused three times more damage to the vessel than 20 nm diameter GNPs. When the GNPs were attached to the inner vascular wall, the damage to the inner vascular wall can be up to 207% of the prescribed dose for the 250 kVp photon source, 4% for the 6 MV photon source, and 2% for the proton beam. Even though the average dose increase from the proton beam and MV photon beam was not large, there were high dose spikes that elevate the local dose of the parts of the blood vessel to be higher than 15 Gy even for 2 Gy prescribed dose, especially when the GNPs can be actively targeted to the endothelial cells.Conclusions:
GNPs can potentially be used to enhance radiation therapy by causing vasculature damage through high dose spikes caused by the addition of GNPs especially for hypofractionated treatment. If GNPs are designed to actively accumulate at the tumor vasculature walls, vasculature damage can be increased significantly. The largest enhancement is seen using kilovoltage photons due to the photoelectric effect. Although no significant average dose enhancement was observed for the whole vasculature structure for both MV photons and protons, they can cause high local dose escalation (>15 Gy) to areas of the blood vessel that can potentially contribute to the disruption of the functionality of the blood vessels in the tumor.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4930960View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
This work explores a new radiation therapy approach which might trigger a renewed use of neon and heavier ions to treat cancers. These ions were shown to be extremely efficient in radioresistant tumor killing. Unfortunately, the efficient region also extends into the normal tissue in front of the tumor. The strategy the authors propose is to profit from the well-established sparing effect of thin spatially fractionated beams, so that the impact on normal tissues might be minimized while a high tumor control is achieved. The main goal of this work is to provide a proof of concept of this new approach. With that aim, a dosimetric study was carried out as a first step to evaluate the interest of further explorations of this avenue.Methods:
The gate/geant4 v.6.1 Monte Carlo simulation platform was employed to simulate arrays of rectangular minibeams (700 μm × 2 cm) of four ions (Ne, Si, Ar, and Fe). The irradiations were performed with a 2 cm-long spread-out Bragg peak centered at 7 cm-depth. Dose distributions in a water phantom were scored considering two minibeams center-to-center distances: 1400 and 3500 μm. Peak and valley doses, peak-to-valley dose ratios (PVDRs), beam penumbras, and relative contribution of nuclear fragments and electromagnetic processes were assessed as figures of merit. In addition, the type and proportion of the secondary nuclear fragments were evaluated in both peak and valley regions.Results:
Extremely high PVDR values (>100) and low valley doses were obtained. The higher the atomic number (Z) of the primary ion is, the lower the valleys and the narrower the penumbras. Although the yield of secondary nuclear products increases with Z, the actual dose being deposited by the secondary nuclear fragments in the valleys starts to be the dominant contribution at deeper points, helping in the sparing of proximal normal tissues. Additionally, a wider center-to-center distance leads to a minimized contribution of heavier secondary fragments in valleys.Conclusions:
The computed dose distributions suggest that a spatial fractionation of the dose combined to the use of submillimetric field sizes might allow profiting from the high efficiency of neon and heavier ions for the treatment of radioresistant tumors, while preserving normal tissues. The authors’ results support the further exploration of this avenue. Next steps include the realization of biological experiment to confirm the shifting of normal tissue complication probability curves.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4930807View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The authors present a novel paddle-based rotating-shield brachytherapy (P-RSBT) method, whose radiation-attenuating shields are formed with a multileaf collimator (MLC), consisting of retractable paddles, to achieve intensity modulation in high-dose-rate brachytherapy.Methods:
Five cervical cancer patients using an intrauterine tandem applicator were considered to assess the potential benefit of the P-RSBT method. The P-RSBT source used was a 50 kV electronic brachytherapy source (Xoft Axxent™). The paddles can be retracted independently to form multiple emission windows around the source for radiation delivery. The MLC was assumed to be rotatable. P-RSBT treatment plans were generated using the asymmetric dose–volume optimization with smoothness control method [Liu et al., Med. Phys. 41(11), 111709 (11pp.) (2014)] with a delivery time constraint, different paddle sizes, and different rotation strides. The number of treatment fractions (fx) was assumed to be five. As brachytherapy is delivered as a boost for cervical cancer, the dose distribution for each case includes the dose from external beam radiotherapy as well, which is 45 Gy in 25 fx. The high-risk clinical target volume (HR-CTV) doses were escalated until the minimum dose to the hottest 2 cm3 (D 2cm3 ) of either the rectum, sigmoid colon, or bladder reached their tolerance doses of 75, 75, and 90 Gy3, respectively, expressed as equivalent doses in 2 Gy fractions (EQD2 with α/β = 3 Gy).Results:
P-RSBT outperformed the two other RSBT delivery techniques, single-shield RSBT (S-RSBT) and dynamic-shield RSBT (D-RSBT), with a properly selected paddle size. If the paddle size was angled at 60°, the average D 90 increases for the delivery plans by P-RSBT on the five cases, compared to S-RSBT, were 2.2, 8.3, 12.6, 11.9, and 9.1 Gy10, respectively, with delivery times of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 min/fx. The increases in HR-CTV D 90, compared to D-RSBT, were 16.6, 12.9, 7.2, 3.7, and 1.7 Gy10, respectively. P-RSBT HR-CTV D 90-values were insensitive to the paddle size for paddles angled at less than 60°. Increasing the paddle angle from 5° to 60° resulted in only a 0.6 Gy10 decrease in HR-CTV D 90 on average for five cases when the delivery times were set to 15 min/fx. The HR-CTV D 90 decreased to 2.5 and 11.9 Gy10 with paddle angles of 90° and 120°, respectively.Conclusions:
P-RSBT produces treatment plans that are dosimetrically and temporally superior to those of S-RSBT and D-RSBT, although P-RSBT systems may be more mechanically challenging to develop than S-RSBT or D-RSBT. A P-RSBT implementation with 4–6 shield paddles would be sufficient to outperform S-RSBT and D-RSBT if delivery times are constrained to less than 15 min/fx.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4930961View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The AAPM TG-135 report is a landmark recommendation for the quality assurance (QA) of image-guided robotic radiosurgery. The purpose of this paper is to present results pertaining to intentionally offsetting the phantom as recommended by TG-135 and to present data on targeting algorithm accuracy as a function of imager parameters in less than ideal circumstances, which had not been available at the time of publication of TG-135.Methods:
All tests in this study were performed at the Cooper University Hospital CyberKnife Center in Mt. Laurel, NJ. For intentional offsets, initial tests were performed on the Accuray-supplied anthropomorphic head and neck phantom, whereas for subsequent tests, the Accuray-supplied alignment quality assurance (AQA) phantom was used. To simulate the effects of imager parameters for larger patients, slabs of Blue Water (Standard Imaging, Inc., Middleton, WI) were added to attenuate the x-ray images in some of the tests. In conjunction with attenuated x-ray tests, the number of fiducials was varied by systematically deselecting them one at a time at the CyberKnife console.Results:
Tests using the AQA phantom verified that submillimeter alignments were consistently achieved even with intentional shifts and rotations of up to 10.0 mm and 1.0°, respectively. An analysis of 17 months of daily QA alignment tests showed that submillimeter alignments were achieved more than 99% of the time even with such intentional shifts and rotations of the phantom. When additional slabs of Blue Water were added to simulate patient attenuation of the x-ray images, targeting errors could be induced depending on imager parameters and the amount of Blue Water used. A series of consecutive tests showed that two helpful variables to ensure good accuracy of the system were (1) the fiducial extraction confidence level (FECL) system parameter and (2) the number of targeted fiducials. When fewer than four fiducials were used, the FECL reported by the CyberKnife was sometimes high even when a false lock occurred, so using multiple fiducials helped to ensure reliable targeting.Conclusions:
Radiosurgery requires the highest degree of targeting accuracy, and in our experience, the CyberKnife has been able to maintain submillimeter accuracy consistently. It has been verified that our CyberKnife can correct for phantom shifts of up to 10.0 mm and rotations of up to 1.0°. It has also been discovered that false locks are more likely to occur with a single fiducial than with multiple fiducials. Although targeting accuracy can only be measured on a phantom, the insight gained from analyzing the QA tests can help us in devising better strategies for achieving the best treatment for our patients.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4931411View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
In proton therapy, collisions between the patient and nozzle potentially occur because of the large nozzle structure and efforts to minimize the air gap. Thus, software was developed to predict such collisions between the nozzle and patient using treatment virtual simulation.Methods:
Three-dimensional (3D) modeling of a gantry inner-floor, nozzle, and robotic-couch was performed using SolidWorks based on the manufacturer’s machine data. To obtain patient body information, a 3D-scanner was utilized right before CT scanning. Using the acquired images, a 3D-image of the patient’s body contour was reconstructed. The accuracy of the image was confirmed against the CT image of a humanoid phantom. The machine components and the virtual patient were combined on the treatment-room coordinate system, resulting in a virtual simulator. The simulator simulated the motion of its components such as rotation and translation of the gantry, nozzle, and couch in real scale. A collision, if any, was examined both in static and dynamic modes. The static mode assessed collisions only at fixed positions of the machine’s components, while the dynamic mode operated any time a component was in motion. A collision was identified if any voxels of two components, e.g., the nozzle and the patient or couch, overlapped when calculating volume locations. The event and collision point were visualized, and collision volumes were reported.Results:
All components were successfully assembled, and the motions were accurately controlled. The 3D-shape of the phantom agreed with CT images within a deviation of 2 mm. Collision situations were simulated within minutes, and the results were displayed and reported.Conclusions:
The developed software will be useful in improving patient safety and clinical efficiency of proton therapy.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4931415View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The purpose of this study was 2-fold. One purpose was to develop an automated, streamlined quality assurance (QA) program for use by multiple centers. The second purpose was to evaluate machine performance over time for multiple centers using linear accelerator (Linac) log files and electronic portal images. The authors sought to evaluate variations in Linac performance to establish as a reference for other centers.Methods:
The authors developed analytical software tools for a QA program using both log files and electronic portal imaging device (EPID) measurements. The first tool is a general analysis tool which can read and visually represent data in the log file. This tool, which can be used to automatically analyze patient treatment or QA log files, examines the files for Linac deviations which exceed thresholds. The second set of tools consists of a test suite of QA fields, a standard phantom, and software to collect information from the log files on deviations from the expected values. The test suite was designed to focus on the mechanical tests of the Linac to include jaw, MLC, and collimator positions during static, IMRT, and volumetric modulated arc therapy delivery. A consortium of eight institutions delivered the test suite at monthly or weekly intervals on each Linac using a standard phantom. The behavior of various components was analyzed for eight TrueBeam Linacs.Results:
For the EPID and trajectory log file analysis, all observed deviations which exceeded established thresholds for Linac behavior resulted in a beam hold off. In the absence of an interlock-triggering event, the maximum observed log file deviations between the expected and actual component positions (such as MLC leaves) varied from less than 1% to 26% of published tolerance thresholds. The maximum and standard deviations of the variations due to gantry sag, collimator angle, jaw position, and MLC positions are presented. Gantry sag among Linacs was 0.336 ± 0.072 mm. The standard deviation in MLC position, as determined by EPID measurements, across the consortium was 0.33 mm for IMRT fields. With respect to the log files, the deviations between expected and actual positions for parameters were small (<0.12 mm) for all Linacs. Considering both log files and EPID measurements, all parameters were well within published tolerance values. Variations in collimator angle, MLC position, and gantry sag were also evaluated for all Linacs.Conclusions:
The performance of the TrueBeam Linac model was shown to be consistent based on automated analysis of trajectory log files and EPID images acquired during delivery of a standardized test suite. The results can be compared directly to tolerance thresholds. In addition, sharing of results from standard tests across institutions can facilitate the identification of QA process and Linac changes. These reference values are presented along with the standard deviation for common tests so that the test suite can be used by other centers to evaluate their Linac performance against those in this consortium.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4931416View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To determine if and by how much the commercial 4DCT protocols under- and overestimate tumor breathing motion.Methods:
1D simulations were conducted that modeled a 16-slice CT scanner and tumors moving proportionally to breathing amplitude. External breathing surrogate traces of at least 5-min duration for 50 patients were used. Breathing trace amplitudes were converted to motion by relating the nominal tumor motion to the 90th percentile breathing amplitude, reflecting motion defined by the more recent 5DCT approach. Based on clinical low-pitch helical CT acquisition, the CT detector moved according to its velocity while the tumor moved according to the breathing trace. When the CT scanner overlapped the tumor, the overlapping slices were identified as having imaged the tumor. This process was repeated starting at successive 0.1 s time bin in the breathing trace until there was insufficient breathing trace to complete the simulation. The tumor size was subtracted from the distance between the most superior and inferior tumor positions to determine the measured tumor motion for that specific simulation. The effect of the scanning parameter variation was evaluated using two commercial 4DCT protocols with different pitch values. Because clinical 4DCT scan sessions would yield a single tumor motion displacement measurement for each patient, errors in the tumor motion measurement were considered systematic. The mean of largest 5% and smallest 5% of the measured motions was selected to identify over- and underdetermined motion amplitudes, respectively. The process was repeated for tumor motions of 1–4 cm in 1 cm increments and for tumor sizes of 1–4 cm in 1 cm increments.Results:
In the examined patient cohort, simulation using pitch of 0.06 showed that 30% of the patients exhibited a 5% chance of mean breathing amplitude overestimations of 47%, while 30% showed a 5% chance of mean breathing amplitude underestimations of 36%; with a separate simulation using pitch of 0.1 showing, respectively, 37% overestimation and 61% underestimation.Conclusions:
The simulation indicates that commercial low-pitch helical 4DCT processes potentially yield large tumor motion measurement errors, both over- and underestimating the tumor motion.
Technical Note: MRI only prostate radiotherapy planning using the statistical decomposition algorithm42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4931417View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
In order to enable a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) only workflow in radiotherapy treatment planning, methods are required for generating Hounsfield unit (HU) maps (i.e., synthetic computed tomography, sCT) for dose calculations, directly from MRI. The Statistical Decomposition Algorithm (SDA) is a method for automatically generating sCT images from a single MR image volume, based on automatic tissue classification in combination with a model trained using a multimodal template material. This study compares dose calculations between sCT generated by the SDA and conventional CT in the male pelvic region.Methods:
The study comprised ten prostate cancer patients, for whom a 3D T2 weighted MRI and a conventional planning CT were acquired. For each patient, sCT images were generated from the acquired MRI using the SDA. In order to decouple the effect of variations in patient geometry between imaging modalities from the effect of uncertainties in the SDA, the conventional CT was nonrigidly registered to the MRI to assure that their geometries were well aligned. For each patient, a volumetric modulated arc therapy plan was created for the registered CT (rCT) and recalculated for both the sCT and the conventional CT. The results were evaluated using several methods, including mean average error (MAE), a set of dose-volume histogram parameters, and a restrictive gamma criterion (2% local dose/1 mm).Results:
The MAE within the body contour was 36.5 ± 4.1 (1 s.d.) HU between sCT and rCT. Average mean absorbed dose difference to target was 0.0% ± 0.2% (1 s.d.) between sCT and rCT, whereas it was −0.3% ± 0.3% (1 s.d.) between CT and rCT. The average gamma pass rate was 99.9% for sCT vs rCT, whereas it was 90.3% for CT vs rCT.Conclusions:
The SDA enables a highly accurate MRI only workflow in prostate radiotherapy planning. The dosimetric uncertainties originating from the SDA appear negligible and are notably lower than the uncertainties introduced by variations in patient geometry between imaging sessions.
- RADIATION IMAGING PHYSICS
Technical Note: Synchrotron-based high-energy x-ray phase sensitive microtomography for biomedical research42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4929551View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Propagation-based phase-contrast CT (PPCT) utilizes highly sensitive phase-contrast technology applied to x-ray microtomography. Performing phase retrieval on the acquired angular projections can enhance image contrast and enable quantitative imaging. In this work, the authors demonstrate the validity and advantages of a novel technique for high-resolution PPCT by using the generalized phase-attenuation duality (PAD) method of phase retrieval.Methods:
A high-resolution angular projection data set of a fish head specimen was acquired with a monochromatic 60-keV x-ray beam. In one approach, the projection data were directly used for tomographic reconstruction. In two other approaches, the projection data were preprocessed by phase retrieval based on either the linearized PAD method or the generalized PAD method. The reconstructed images from all three approaches were then compared in terms of tissue contrast-to-noise ratio and spatial resolution.Results:
The authors’ experimental results demonstrated the validity of the PPCT technique based on the generalized PAD-based method. In addition, the results show that the authors’ technique is superior to the direct PPCT technique as well as the linearized PAD-based PPCT technique in terms of their relative capabilities for tissue discrimination and characterization.Conclusions:
This novel PPCT technique demonstrates great potential for biomedical imaging, especially for applications that require high spatial resolution and limited radiation exposure.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4929562View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Current computer-aided detection (CAD) systems for pulmonary nodules in computed tomography (CT) scans have a good performance for relatively small nodules, but often fail to detect the much rarer larger nodules, which are more likely to be cancerous. We present a novel CAD system specifically designed to detect solid nodules larger than 10 mm.Methods:
The proposed detection pipeline is initiated by a three-dimensional lung segmentation algorithm optimized to include large nodules attached to the pleural wall via morphological processing. An additional preprocessing is used to mask out structures outside the pleural space to ensure that pleural and parenchymal nodules have a similar appearance. Next, nodule candidates are obtained via a multistage process of thresholding and morphological operations, to detect both larger and smaller candidates. After segmenting each candidate, a set of 24 features based on intensity, shape, blobness, and spatial context are computed. A radial basis support vector machine (SVM) classifier was used to classify nodule candidates, and performance was evaluated using ten-fold cross-validation on the full publicly available lung image database consortium database.Results:
The proposed CAD system reaches a sensitivity of 98.3% (234/238) and 94.1% (224/238) large nodules at an average of 4.0 and 1.0 false positives/scan, respectively.Conclusions:
The authors conclude that the proposed dedicated CAD system for large pulmonary nodules can identify the vast majority of highly suspicious lesions in thoracic CT scans with a small number of false positives.