Volume 42, Issue 1, January 2015
Index of content:
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4895979View Description Hide Description
- MEDICAL PHYSICS LETTER
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4901255View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To characterize the performance of a novel radiation therapy monitoring technique that utilizes a flexible scintillating film, common optical detectors, and image processing algorithms for real-time beam visualization (RT-BV).Methods:
Scintillating films were formed by mixing Gd2O2S:Tb (GOS) with silicone and casting the mixture at room temperature. The films were placed in the path of therapeutic beams generated by medical linear accelerators (LINAC). The emitted light was subsequently captured using a CMOS digital camera. Image processing algorithms were used to extract the intensity, shape, and location of the radiation field at various beam energies, dose rates, and collimator locations. The measurement results were compared with known collimator settings to validate the performance of the imaging system.Results:
The RT-BV system achieved a sufficient contrast-to-noise ratio to enable real-time monitoring of the LINAC beam at 20 fps with normal ambient lighting in the LINAC room. The RT-BV system successfully identified collimator movements with sub-millimeter resolution.Conclusions:
The RT-BV system is capable of localizing radiation therapy beams with sub-millimeter precision and tracking beam movement at video-rate exposure.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4903265View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The purpose of this research is to perform the fast reconstruction of a prompt gamma ray image using a graphics processing unit (GPU) computation from boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) simulations.Methods:
To evaluate the accuracy of the reconstructed image, a phantom including four boron uptake regions (BURs) was used in the simulation. After the Monte Carlo simulation of the BNCT, the modified ordered subset expectation maximization reconstruction algorithm using the GPU computation was used to reconstruct the images with fewer projections. The computation times for image reconstruction were compared between the GPU and the central processing unit (CPU). Also, the accuracy of the reconstructed image was evaluated by a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis.Results:
The image reconstruction time using the GPU was 196 times faster than the conventional reconstruction time using the CPU. For the four BURs, the area under curve values from the ROC curve were 0.6726 (A-region), 0.6890 (B-region), 0.7384 (C-region), and 0.8009 (D-region).Conclusions:
The tomographic image using the prompt gamma ray event from the BNCT simulation was acquired using the GPU computation in order to perform a fast reconstruction during treatment. The authors verified the feasibility of the prompt gamma ray image reconstruction using the GPU computation for BNCT simulations.
The first clinical treatment with kilovoltage intrafraction monitoring (KIM): A real-time image guidance method42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4904023View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Kilovoltage intrafraction monitoring (KIM) is a real-time image guidance method that uses widely available radiotherapy technology, i.e., a gantry-mounted x-ray imager. The authors report on the geometric and dosimetric results of the first patient treatment using KIM which occurred on September 16, 2014.Methods:
KIM uses current and prior 2D x-ray images to estimate the 3D target position during cancer radiotherapy treatment delivery. KIM software was written to process kilovoltage (kV) images streamed from a standard C-arm linear accelerator with a gantry-mounted kV x-ray imaging system. A 120° pretreatment kV imaging arc was acquired to build the patient-specific 2D to 3D motion correlation. The kV imager was activated during the megavoltage (MV) treatment, a dual arc VMAT prostate treatment, to estimate the 3D prostate position in real-time. All necessary ethics, legal, and regulatory requirements were met for this clinical study. The quality assurance processes were completed and peer reviewed.Results:
During treatment, a prostate position offset of nearly 3 mm in the posterior direction was observed with KIM. This position offset did not trigger a gating event. After the treatment, the prostate motion was independently measured using kV/MV triangulation, resulting in a mean difference of less than 0.6 mm and standard deviation of less than 0.6 mm in each direction. The accuracy of the marker segmentation was visually assessed during and after treatment and found to be performing well. During treatment, there were no interruptions due to performance of the KIM software.Conclusions:
For the first time, KIM has been used for real-time image guidance during cancer radiotherapy. The measured accuracy and precision were both submillimeter for the first treatment fraction. This clinical translational research milestone paves the way for the broad implementation of real-time image guidance to facilitate the detection and correction of geometric and dosimetric errors, and resultant improved clinical outcomes, in cancer radiotherapy.
- RADIATION THERAPY PHYSICS
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4894702View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The purpose of this work was to describe a versatile algorithm for deformable image registration with applications in radiotherapy and to validate it on thoracic 4DCT data as well as CT/cone beam CT (CBCT) data.Methods:
ANAtomically CONstrained Deformation Algorithm (ANACONDA) combines image information (i.e., intensities) with anatomical information as provided by contoured image sets. The registration problem is formulated as a nonlinear optimization problem and solved with an in-house developed solver, tailored to this problem. The objective function, which is minimized during optimization, is a linear combination of four nonlinear terms: 1. image similarity term; 2. grid regularization term, which aims at keeping the deformed image grid smooth and invertible; 3. a shape based regularization term which works to keep the deformation anatomically reasonable when regions of interest are present in the reference image; and 4. a penalty term which is added to the optimization problem when controlling structures are used, aimed at deforming the selected structure in the reference image to the corresponding structure in the target image.Results:
To validate ANACONDA, the authors have used 16 publically available thoracic 4DCT data sets for which target registration errors from several algorithms have been reported in the literature. On average for the 16 data sets, the target registration error is 1.17 ± 0.87 mm, Dice similarity coefficient is 0.98 for the two lungs, and image similarity, measured by the correlation coefficient, is 0.95. The authors have also validated ANACONDA using two pelvic cases and one head and neck case with planning CT and daily acquired CBCT. Each image has been contoured by a physician (radiation oncologist) or experienced radiation therapist. The results are an improvement with respect to rigid registration. However, for the head and neck case, the sample set is too small to show statistical significance.Conclusions:
ANACONDA performs well in comparison with other algorithms. By including CT/CBCT data in the validation, the various aspects of the algorithm such as its ability to handle different modalities, large deformations, and air pockets are shown.
Assessment of uncertainties in radiation-induced cancer risk predictions at clinically relevant doses42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4903272View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Theoretical dose–response models offer the possibility to assess second cancer induction risks after external beam therapy. The parameters used in these models are determined with limited data from epidemiological studies. Risk estimations are thus associated with considerable uncertainties. This study aims at illustrating uncertainties when predicting the risk for organ-specific second cancers in the primary radiation field illustrated by choosing selected treatment plans for brain cancer patients.Methods:
A widely used risk model was considered in this study. The uncertainties of the model parameters were estimated with reported data of second cancer incidences for various organs. Standard error propagation was then subsequently applied to assess the uncertainty in the risk model. Next, second cancer risks of five pediatric patients treated for cancer in the head and neck regions were calculated. For each case, treatment plans for proton and photon therapy were designed to estimate the uncertainties (a) in the lifetime attributable risk (LAR) for a given treatment modality and (b) when comparing risks of two different treatment modalities.Results:
Uncertainties in excess of 100% of the risk were found for almost all organs considered. When applied to treatment plans, the calculated LAR values have uncertainties of the same magnitude. A comparison between cancer risks of different treatment modalities, however, does allow statistically significant conclusions. In the studied cases, the patient averaged LAR ratio of proton and photon treatments was 0.35, 0.56, and 0.59 for brain carcinoma, brain sarcoma, and bone sarcoma, respectively. Their corresponding uncertainties were estimated to be potentially below 5%, depending on uncertainties in dosimetry.Conclusions:
The uncertainty in the dose–response curve in cancer risk models makes it currently impractical to predict the risk for an individual external beam treatment. On the other hand, the ratio of absolute risks between two modalities is less sensitive to the uncertainties in the risk model and can provide statistically significant estimates.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4903298View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
In radiotherapy, it is important to predict the response of tumors to irradiation prior to the treatment. This is especially important for hypoxic tumors, which are known to be highly radioresistant. Mathematical modeling based on the dose distribution, biological parameters, and medical images may help to improve this prediction and to optimize the treatment plan.Methods:
A voxel-based multiscale tumor response model for simulating the radiation response of hypoxic tumors was developed. It considers viable and dead tumor cells, capillary and normal cells, as well as the most relevant biological processes such as (i) proliferation of tumor cells, (ii) hypoxia-induced angiogenesis, (iii) spatial exchange of cells leading to tumor growth, (iv) oxygen-dependent cell survival after irradiation, (v) resorption of dead cells, and (vi) spatial exchange of cells leading to tumor shrinkage. Oxygenation is described on a microscopic scale using a previously published tumor oxygenation model, which calculates the oxygen distribution for each voxel using the vascular fraction as the most important input parameter. To demonstrate the capabilities of the model, the dependence of the oxygen distribution on tumor growth and radiation-induced shrinkage is investigated. In addition, the impact of three different reoxygenation processes is compared and tumor control probability (TCP) curves for a squamous cells carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSSC) are simulated under normoxic and hypoxic conditions.Results:
The model describes the spatiotemporal behavior of the tumor on three different scales: (i) on the macroscopic scale, it describes tumor growth and shrinkage during radiation treatment, (ii) on a mesoscopic scale, it provides the cell density and vascular fraction for each voxel, and (iii) on the microscopic scale, the oxygen distribution may be obtained in terms of oxygen histograms. With increasing tumor size, the simulated tumors develop a hypoxic core. Within the model, tumor shrinkage was found to be significantly more important for reoxygenation than angiogenesis or decreased oxygen consumption due to an increased fraction of dead cells. In the studied HNSSC-case, the TCD50 values (dose at 50% TCP) decreased from 71.0 Gy under hypoxic to 53.6 Gy under the oxic condition.Conclusions:
The results obtained with the developed multiscale model are in accordance with expectations based on radiobiological principles and clinical experience. As the model is voxel-based, radiological imaging methods may help to provide the required 3D-characterization of the tumor prior to irradiation. For clinical application, the model has to be further validated with experimental and clinical data. If this is achieved, the model may be used to optimize fractionation schedules and dose distributions for the treatment of hypoxic tumors.
Monitoring ABC-assisted deep inspiration breath hold for left-sided breast radiotherapy with an optical tracking system42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4903511View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Recent knowledge on the effects of cardiac toxicity warrants greater precision for left-sided breast radiotherapy. Different breath-hold (BH) maneuvers (abdominal vs thoracic breathing) can lead to chest wall positional variations, even though the patient’s tidal volume remains consistent. This study aims to investigate the feasibility of using optical tracking for real-time quality control of active breathing coordinator (ABC)-assisted deep inspiration BH (DIBH).Methods:
An in-house optical tracking system (OTS) was used to monitor ABC-assisted DIBH. The stability and localization accuracy of the OTS were assessed with a ball-bearing phantom. Seven patients with left-sided breast cancer were included. A free-breathing (FB) computed tomography (CT) scan and an ABC-assisted BH CT scan were acquired for each patient. The OTS tracked an infrared (IR) marker affixed over the patient’s xiphoid process to measure the positional variation of each individual BH. Using the BH within which the CT scan was performed as the reference, the authors quantified intra- and interfraction BH variations for each patient. To estimate the dosimetric impact of BH variations, the authors studied the positional correlation between the marker and the left breast using the FB CT and BH CT scans. The positional variations of 860 BHs as measured by the OTS were retrospectively incorporated into the original treatment plans to evaluate their dosimetric impact on breast and cardiac organs [heart and left anterior descending (LAD) artery].Results:
The stability and localization accuracy of the OTS was within 0.2 mm along each direction. The mean intrafraction variation among treatment BHs was less than 2.8 mm in all directions. Up to 12.6 mm anteroposterior undershoot, where the patient’s chest wall displacement of a BH is less than that of a reference BH, was observed with averages of 4.4, 3.6, and 0.1 mm in the anteroposterior, craniocaudal, and mediolateral directions, respectively. A high positional correlation between the marker and the breast was found in the anteroposterior and craniocaudal directions with respective Pearson correlation values of 0.95 and 0.93, but no mediolateral correlation was found. Dosimetric impact of BH variations on breast coverage was negligible. However, the mean heart dose, mean LAD dose, and max LAD dose were estimated to increase from 1.4/7.4/18.6 Gy (planned) to 2.1/15.7/31.0 Gy (delivered), respectively.Conclusions:
In ABC-assisted DIBH, large positional variation can occur in some patients, due to their different BH maneuvers. The authors’ study has shown that OTS can be a valuable tool for real-time quality control of ABC-assisted DIBH.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4903292View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
As radiation therapy evolves toward more adaptive techniques, image guidance plays an increasingly important role, not only in patient setup but also in monitoring the delivered dose and adapting the treatment to patient changes. This study aimed to validate a method for evaluation of delivered intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) dose based on multimodal deformable image registration (dir) for prostate treatments.Methods:
A pelvic phantom was scanned with CT and cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT). Both images were digitally deformed using two realistic patient-based deformation fields. The original CT was then registered to the deformed CBCT resulting in a secondary deformed CT. The registration quality was assessed as the ability of the dir method to recover the artificially induced deformations. The primary and secondary deformed CT images as well as vector fields were compared to evaluate the efficacy of the registration method and it’s suitability to be used for dose calculation. plastimatch, a free and open source software was used for deformable image registration. A B-spline algorithm with optimized parameters was used to achieve the best registration quality. Geometric image evaluation was performed through voxel-based Hounsfield unit (HU) and vector field comparison. For dosimetric evaluation, IMRT treatment plans were created and optimized on the original CT image and recomputed on the two warped images to be compared. The dose volume histograms were compared for the warped structures that were identical in both warped images. This procedure was repeated for the phantom with full, half full, and empty bladder.Results:
The results indicated mean HU differences of up to 120 between registered and ground-truth deformed CT images. However, when the CBCT intensities were calibrated using a region of interest (ROI)-based calibration curve, these differences were reduced by up to 60%. Similarly, the mean differences in average vector field lengths decreased from 10.1 to 2.5 mm when CBCT was calibrated prior to registration. The results showed no dependence on the level of bladder filling. In comparison with the dose calculated on the primary deformed CT, differences in mean dose averaged over all organs were 0.2% and 3.9% for dose calculated on the secondary deformed CT with and without CBCT calibration, respectively, and 0.5% for dose calculated directly on the calibrated CBCT, for the full-bladder scenario. Gamma analysis for the distance to agreement of 2 mm and 2% of prescribed dose indicated a pass rate of 100% for both cases involving calibrated CBCT and on average 86% without CBCT calibration.Conclusions:
Using deformable registration on the planning CT images to evaluate the IMRT dose based on daily CBCTs was found feasible. The proposed method will provide an accurate dose distribution using planning CT and pretreatment CBCT data, avoiding the additional uncertainties introduced by CBCT inhomogeneity and artifacts. This is a necessary initial step toward future image-guided adaptive radiotherapy of the prostate.
Improving anatomical mapping of complexly deformed anatomy for external beam radiotherapy and brachytherapy dose accumulation in cervical cancer42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4903300View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
In the treatment of cervical cancer, large anatomical deformations, caused by, e.g., tumor shrinkage, bladder and rectum filling changes, organ sliding, and the presence of the brachytherapy (BT) applicator, prohibit the accumulation of external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) and BT dose distributions. This work proposes a structure-wise registration with vector field integration (SW+VF) to map the largely deformed anatomies between EBRT and BT, paving the way for 3D dose accumulation between EBRT and BT.Methods:
T2w-MRIs acquired before EBRT and as a part of the MRI-guided BT procedure for 12 cervical cancer patients, along with the manual delineations of the bladder, cervix-uterus, and rectum-sigmoid, were used for this study. A rigid transformation was used to align the bony anatomy in the MRIs. The proposed SW+VF method starts by automatically segmenting features in the area surrounding the delineated organs. Then, each organ and feature pair is registered independently using a feature-based nonrigid registration algorithm developed in-house. Additionally, a background transformation is calculated to account for areas far from all organs and features. In order to obtain one transformation that can be used for dose accumulation, the organ-based, feature-based, and the background transformations are combined into one vector field using a weighted sum, where the contribution of each transformation can be directly controlled by its extent of influence (scope size). The optimal scope sizes for organ-based and feature-based transformations were found by an exhaustive analysis. The anatomical correctness of the mapping was independently validated by measuring the residual distances after transformation for delineated structures inside the cervix-uterus (inner anatomical correctness), and for anatomical landmarks outside the organs in the surrounding region (outer anatomical correctness). The results of the proposed method were compared with the results of the rigid transformation and nonrigid registration of all structures together (AST).Results:
The rigid transformation achieved a good global alignment (mean outer anatomical correctness of 4.3 mm) but failed to align the deformed organs (mean inner anatomical correctness of 22.4 mm). Conversely, the AST registration produced a reasonable alignment for the organs (6.3 mm) but not for the surrounding region (16.9 mm). SW+VF registration achieved the best results for both regions (3.5 and 3.4 mm for the inner and outer anatomical correctness, respectively). All differences were significant (p < 0.02, Wilcoxon rank sum test). Additionally, optimization of the scope sizes determined that the method was robust for a large range of scope size values.Conclusions:
The novel SW+VF method improved the mapping of large and complex deformations observed between EBRT and BT for cervical cancer patients. Future studies that quantify the mapping error in terms of dose errors are required to test the clinical applicability of dose accumulation by the SW+VF method.
A GPU based high-resolution multilevel biomechanical head and neck model for validating deformable image registration42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4903504View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Validating the usage of deformable image registration (dir) for daily patient positioning is critical for adaptive radiotherapy (RT) applications pertaining to head and neck (HN) radiotherapy. The authors present a methodology for generating biomechanically realistic ground-truth data for validating dir algorithms for HN anatomy by (a) developing a high-resolution deformable biomechanical HN model from a planning CT, (b) simulating deformations for a range of interfraction posture changes and physiological regression, and (c) generating subsequent CT images representing the deformed anatomy.Methods:
The biomechanical model was developed using HN kVCT datasets and the corresponding structure contours. The voxels inside a given 3D contour boundary were clustered using a graphics processing unit (GPU) based algorithm that accounted for inconsistencies and gaps in the boundary to form a volumetric structure. While the bony anatomy was modeled as rigid body, the muscle and soft tissue structures were modeled as mass–spring-damper models with elastic material properties that corresponded to the underlying contoured anatomies. Within a given muscle structure, the voxels were classified using a uniform grid and a normalized mass was assigned to each voxel based on its Hounsfield number. The soft tissue deformation for a given skeletal actuation was performed using an implicit Euler integration with each iteration split into two substeps: one for the muscle structures and the other for the remaining soft tissues. Posture changes were simulated by articulating the skeletal structure and enabling the soft structures to deform accordingly. Physiological changes representing tumor regression were simulated by reducing the target volume and enabling the surrounding soft structures to deform accordingly. Finally, the authors also discuss a new approach to generate kVCT images representing the deformed anatomy that accounts for gaps and antialiasing artifacts that may be caused by the biomechanical deformation process. Accuracy and stability of the model response were validated using ground-truth simulations representing soft tissue behavior under local and global deformations. Numerical accuracy of the HN deformations was analyzed by applying nonrigid skeletal transformations acquired from interfraction kVCT images to the model’s skeletal structures and comparing the subsequent soft tissue deformations of the model with the clinical anatomy.Results:
The GPU based framework enabled the model deformation to be performed at 60 frames/s, facilitating simulations of posture changes and physiological regressions at interactive speeds. The soft tissue response was accurate with a R 2 value of >0.98 when compared to ground-truth global and local force deformation analysis. The deformation of the HN anatomy by the model agreed with the clinically observed deformations with an average correlation coefficient of 0.956. For a clinically relevant range of posture and physiological changes, the model deformations stabilized with an uncertainty of less than 0.01 mm.Conclusions:
Documenting dose delivery for HN radiotherapy is essential accounting for posture and physiological changes. The biomechanical model discussed in this paper was able to deform in real-time, allowing interactive simulations and visualization of such changes. The model would allow patient specific validations of the dir method and has the potential to be a significant aid in adaptive radiotherapy techniques.
A method of surface marker location optimization for tumor motion estimation in lung stereotactic body radiation therapy42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4903888View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Accurately localizing lung tumor localization is essential for high-precision radiation therapy techniques such as stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). Since direct monitoring of tumor motion is not always achievable due to the limitation of imaging modalities for treatment guidance, placement of fiducial markers on the patient’s body surface to act as a surrogate for tumor position prediction is a practical alternative for tracking lung tumor motion during SBRT treatments. In this work, the authors propose an innovative and robust model to solve the multimarker position optimization problem. The model is able to overcome the major drawbacks of the sparse optimization approach (SOA) model.Methods:
The principle-component-analysis (PCA) method was employed as the framework to build the authors’ statistical prediction model. The method can be divided into two stages. The first stage is to build the surrogate tumor matrix and calculate its eigenvalues and associated eigenvectors. The second stage is to determine the “best represented” columns of the eigenvector matrix obtained from stage one and subsequently acquire the optimal marker positions as well as numbers. Using 4-dimensional CT (4DCT) and breath hold CT imaging data, the PCA method was compared to the SOA method with respect to calculation time, average prediction accuracy, prediction stability, noise resistance, marker position consistency, and marker distribution.Results:
The PCA and SOA methods which were both tested were on all 11 patients for a total of 130 cases including 4DCT and breath-hold CT scenarios. The maximum calculation time for the PCA method was less than 1 s with 64 752 surface points, whereas the average calculation time for the SOA method was over 12 min with 400 surface points. Overall, the tumor center position prediction errors were comparable between the two methods, and all were less than 1.5 mm. However, for the extreme scenarios (breath hold), the prediction errors for the PCA method were not only smaller, but were also more stable than for the SOA method. Results obtained by imposing a series of random noises to the surrogates indicated that the PCA method was much more noise resistant than the SOA method. The marker position consistency tests using various combinations of 4DCT phases to construct the surrogates suggested that the marker position predictions of the PCA method were more consistent than those of the SOA method, in spite of surrogate construction. Marker distribution tests indicated that greater than 80% of the calculated marker positions fell into the high cross correlation and high motion magnitude regions for both of the algorithms.Conclusions:
The PCA model is an accurate, efficient, robust, and practical model for solving the multimarker position optimization problem to predict lung tumor motion during SBRT treatments. Due to its generality, PCA model can also be applied to other imaging guidance system whichever using surface motion as the surrogates.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4903892View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To evaluate the efficacy of dual-energy (DE) vs single-energy (SE) fluoroscopic imaging of lung tumors using a markerless template-based tracking algorithm.Methods:
Ten representative patient breathing patterns were programmed into a Quasar™ motion phantom. The phantom was modified by affixing pork ribs to the surface, and a cedar insert with a small spherical volume was used to simulate lung and tumor, respectively. Sequential 60 kVp (6 mA) and 120 kVp (1.5 mA) fluoroscopic sequences were acquired. Frame-by-frame weighted logarithmic subtraction was performed resulting in a DE fluoroscopic sequence. A template-based algorithm was then used to track tumor motion throughout the DE and SE fluoroscopy sequences. Tracking coordinates were evaluated against ground-truth tumor locations. Fluoroscopic images were also acquired for two lung cancer patients, neither of which had implanted fiducials.Results:
For phantom imaging, a total of 1925 frames were analyzed. The algorithm successfully tracked the target on 99.9% (1923/1925) of DE frames vs 90.7% (1745/1925) SE images (p < 0.01). The displacement between tracking coordinates and ground truth for the phantom was 1.4 mm ± 1.1 mm for DE vs 2.0 mm ± 1.3 mm for SE (p < 0.01). Images from two patients, one with a larger tumor and one with a smaller tumor, were also analyzed. For the patient with the larger tumor, the average displacement from physician defined ground truth was 1.2 mm ± 0.6 mm for DE vs 1.4 mm ± 0.7 mm for SE (p = 0.016). For the patient that presented with a smaller tumor, the average displacement from physician defined ground truth was 2.2 mm ± 1.0 mm for DE vs 3.2 mm ± 1.4 mm for SE (p < 0.01). Importantly, for this single patient with the smaller tumor, 15.6% of the SE frames had >5 mm displacements from the ground truth vs 0% for DE fluoroscopy.Conclusions:
This work indicates the potential for markerless tumor tracking utilizing DE fluoroscopy. With DE imaging, the algorithm showed improved detectability vs SE fluoroscopy and was able to accurately track the tumor in nearly all cases.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4903276View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
This paper describes the system for the dose delivery currently used at the Centro Nazionale di Adroterapia Oncologica (CNAO) for ion beam modulated scanning radiotherapy.Methods:
CNAO Foundation, Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare and University of Torino have designed, built, and commissioned a dose delivery system (DDS) to monitor and guide ion beams accelerated by a dedicated synchrotron and to distribute the dose with a full 3D scanning technique. Protons and carbon ions are provided for a wide range of energies in order to cover a sizable span of treatment depths. The target volume, segmented in several layers orthogonally to the beam direction, is irradiated by thousands of pencil beams which must be steered and held to the prescribed positions until the prescribed number of particles has been delivered. For the CNAO beam lines, these operations are performed by the DDS. The main components of this system are two independent beam monitoring detectors, called BOX1 and BOX2, interfaced with two control systems performing the tasks of real-time fast and slow control, and connected to the scanning magnets and the beam chopper. As a reaction to any condition leading to a potential hazard, a DDS interlock signal is sent to the patient interlock system which immediately stops the irradiation. The essential tasks and operations performed by the DDS are described following the data flow from the treatment planning system through the end of the treatment delivery.Results:
The ability of the DDS to guarantee a safe and accurate treatment was validated during the commissioning phase by means of checks of the charge collection efficiency, gain uniformity of the chambers, and 2D dose distribution homogeneity and stability. A high level of reliability and robustness has been proven by three years of system activity needing rarely more than regular maintenance and working with 100% uptime. Four identical and independent DDS devices have been tested showing comparable performances and are presently in use on the CNAO beam lines for clinical activity.Conclusions:
The dose delivery system described in this paper is one among the few worldwide existing systems to operate ion beam for modulated scanning radiotherapy. At the time of writing, it has been used to treat more than 350 patients and it has proven to guide and control the therapeutic pencil beams reaching performances well above clinical requirements. In particular, in terms of dose accuracy and stability, daily quality assurance measurements have shown dose deviations always lower than the acceptance threshold of 5% and 2.5%, respectively.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4903757View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To evaluate the main characteristics of the Exradin W1 scintillator as a dosimeter and to estimate measurement uncertainties when used in radiotherapy.Methods:
We studied the calibration procedure, energy and modality dependence, short-term repeatability, dose-response linearity, angular dependence, temperature dependence, time to reach thermal equilibrium, dose-rate dependence, water-equivalent depth of the effective measurement point, and long-term stability. An uncertainty budget was derived for relative and absolute dose measurements in photon and electron beams.Results:
Exradin W1 showed a temperature dependence of −0.225% °C−1. The loss of sensitivity with accumulated dose decreased with use. The sensitivity of Exradin W1 was energy independent for high-energy photon and electron beams. All remaining dependencies of Exradin W1 were around or below 0.5%, leading to an uncertainty budget of about 1%. When a dual channel electrometer with automatic trigger was not used, timing effects became significant, increasing uncertainties by one order of magnitude.Conclusions:
The Exradin W1 response is energy independent for high energy x-rays and electron beams, and only one calibration coefficient is needed. A temperature correction factor should be applied to keep uncertainties around 2% for absolute dose measurements and around 1% for relative measurements in high-energy photon and electron beams. The Exradin W1 scintillator is an excellent alternative to detectors such as diodes for relative dose measurements.
Novel tools for stepping source brachytherapy treatment planning: Enhanced geometrical optimization and interactive inverse planning42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4904020View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Dose optimization for stepping source brachytherapy can nowadays be performed using automated inverse algorithms. Although much quicker than graphical optimization, an experienced treatment planner is required for both methods. With automated inverse algorithms, the procedure to achieve the desired dose distribution is often based on trial-and-error.Methods:
A new approach for stepping source prostate brachytherapy treatment planning was developed as a quick and user-friendly alternative. This approach consists of the combined use of two novel tools: Enhanced geometrical optimization (EGO) and interactive inverse planning (IIP). EGO is an extended version of the common geometrical optimization method and is applied to create a dose distribution as homogeneous as possible. With the second tool, IIP, this dose distribution is tailored to a specific patient anatomy by interactively changing the highest and lowest dose on the contours.Results:
The combined use of EGO–IIP was evaluated on 24 prostate cancer patients, by having an inexperienced user create treatment plans, compliant to clinical dose objectives. This user was able to create dose plans of 24 patients in an average time of 4.4 min/patient. An experienced treatment planner without extensive training in EGO–IIP also created 24 plans. The resulting dose-volume histogram parameters were comparable to the clinical plans and showed high conformance to clinical standards.Conclusions:
Even for an inexperienced user, treatment planning with EGO–IIP for stepping source prostate brachytherapy is feasible as an alternative to current optimization algorithms, offering speed, simplicity for the user, and local control of the dose levels.
- RADIATION IMAGING PHYSICS
Computer-aided detection of renal calculi from noncontrast CT images using TV-flow and MSER features42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4903056View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Renal calculi are common extracolonic incidental findings on computed tomographic colonography (CTC). This work aims to develop a fully automated computer-aided diagnosis system to accurately detect renal calculi on CTC images.Methods:
The authors developed a total variation (TV) flow method to reduce image noise within the kidneys while maintaining the characteristic appearance of renal calculi. Maximally stable extremal region (MSER) features were then calculated to robustly identify calculi candidates. Finally, the authors computed texture and shape features that were imported to support vector machines for calculus classification. The method was validated on a dataset of 192 patients and compared to a baseline approach that detects calculi by thresholding. The authors also compared their method with the detection approaches using anisotropic diffusion and nonsmoothing.Results:
At a false positive rate of 8 per patient, the sensitivities of the new method and the baseline thresholding approach were 69% and 35% (p < 1e − 3) on all calculi from 1 to 433 mm3 in the testing dataset. The sensitivities of the detection methods using anisotropic diffusion and nonsmoothing were 36% and 0%, respectively. The sensitivity of the new method increased to 90% if only larger and more clinically relevant calculi were considered.Conclusions:
Experimental results demonstrated that TV-flow and MSER features are efficient means to robustly and accurately detect renal calculi on low-dose, high noise CTC images. Thus, the proposed method can potentially improve diagnosis.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4903264View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
4D CT imaging in mice is important in a variety of areas including studies of lung function and tumor motion. A necessary step in 4D imaging is obtaining a respiratory signal, which can be done through an external system or intrinsically through the projection images. A number of methods have been developed that can successfully determine the respiratory signal from cone-beam projection images of humans, however only a few have been utilized in a preclinical setting and most of these rely on step-and-shoot style imaging. The purpose of this work is to assess and make adaptions of several successful methods developed for humans for an image-guided preclinical radiation therapy system.Methods:
Respiratory signals were determined from the projection images of free-breathing mice scanned on the X-RAD system using four methods: the so-called Amsterdam shroud method, a method based on the phase of the Fourier transform, a pixel intensity method, and a center of mass method. The Amsterdam shroud method was modified so the sharp inspiration peaks associated with anesthetized mouse breathing could be detected. Respiratory signals were used to sort projections into phase bins and 4D images were reconstructed. Error and standard deviation in the assignment of phase bins for the four methods compared to a manual method considered to be ground truth were calculated for a range of region of interest (ROI) sizes. Qualitative comparisons were additionally made between the 4D images obtained using each of the methods and the manual method.Results:
4D images were successfully created for all mice with each of the respiratory signal extraction methods. Only minimal qualitative differences were noted between each of the methods and the manual method. The average error (and standard deviation) in phase bin assignment was 0.24 ± 0.08 (0.49 ± 0.11) phase bins for the Fourier transform method, 0.09 ± 0.03 (0.31 ± 0.08) phase bins for the modified Amsterdam shroud method, 0.09 ± 0.02 (0.33 ± 0.07) phase bins for the intensity method, and 0.37 ± 0.10 (0.57 ± 0.08) phase bins for the center of mass method. Little dependence on ROI size was noted for the modified Amsterdam shroud and intensity methods while the Fourier transform and center of mass methods showed a noticeable dependence on the ROI size.Conclusions:
The modified Amsterdam shroud, Fourier transform, and intensity respiratory signal methods are sufficiently accurate to be used for 4D imaging on the X-RAD system and show improvement over the existing center of mass method. The intensity and modified Amsterdam shroud methods are recommended due to their high accuracy and low dependence on ROI size.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4903283View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Detection of subtle microcalcifications in digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) is a challenging task because of the large, noisy DBT volume. It is important to enhance the contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) of microcalcifications in DBT reconstruction. Most regularization methods depend on local gradient and may treat the ill-defined margins or subtle spiculations of masses and subtle microcalcifications as noise because of their small gradient. The authors developed a new multiscale bilateral filtering (MSBF) regularization method for the simultaneous algebraic reconstruction technique (SART) to improve the CNR of microcalcifications without compromising the quality of masses.Methods:
The MSBF exploits a multiscale structure of DBT images to suppress noise and selectively enhance high frequency structures. At the end of each SART iteration, every DBT slice is decomposed into several frequency bands via Laplacian pyramid decomposition. No regularization is applied to the low frequency bands so that subtle edges of masses and structured background are preserved. Bilateral filtering is applied to the high frequency bands to enhance microcalcifications while suppressing noise. The regularized DBT images are used for updating in the next SART iteration. The new MSBF method was compared with the nonconvex total p-variation (TpV) method for noise regularization with SART. A GE GEN2 prototype DBT system was used for acquisition of projections at 21 angles in 3° increments over a ±30° range. The reconstruction image quality with no regularization (NR) and that with the two regularization methods were compared using the DBT scans of a heterogeneous breast phantom and several human subjects with masses and microcalcifications. The CNR and the full width at half maximum (FWHM) of the line profiles of microcalcifications and across the spiculations within their in-focus DBT slices were used as image quality measures.Results:
The MSBF method reduced contouring artifacts and enhanced the CNR of microcalcifications compared to the TpV method, thus preserving the image quality of the structured background. The MSBF method achieved the highest CNR of microcalcifications among the three methods. The FWHM of the microcalcifications and mass spiculations resulting from the MSBF method was comparable to that without regularization, and superior to that of the TpV method.Conclusions:
The SART regularized by the multiscale bilateral filtering method enhanced the CNR of microcalcifications and preserved the sharpness of microcalcifications and spiculated masses. The MSBF method provided better image quality of the structured background and was superior to TpV and NR for enhancing microcalcifications while preserving the appearance of mass margins.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4903756View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Based on an energy-dependent property of matter, one may obtain a pseudomonochromatic attenuation map, a material composition image, an electron-density distribution, and an atomic number image using a dual- or multienergy computed tomography (CT) scan. Dual- and multienergy CT scans broaden the potential of x-ray CT imaging. The development of such systems is very useful in both medical and industrial investigations. In this paper, the authors propose a new dual- and multienergy CT system design (segmental multienergy CT, SegMECT) using an innovative scanning scheme that is conveniently implemented on a conventional single-energy CT system. The two-step-energy dual-energy CT can be regarded as a special case of SegMECT. A special reconstruction method is proposed to support SegMECT.Methods:
In their SegMECT, a circular trajectory in a CT scan is angularly divided into several arcs. The x-ray source is set to a different tube voltage for each arc of the trajectory. Thus, the authors only need to make a few step changes to the x-ray energy during the scan to complete a multienergy data acquisition. With such a data set, the image reconstruction might suffer from severe limited-angle artifacts if using conventional reconstruction methods. To solve the problem, they present a new prior-image-based reconstruction technique using a total variance norm of a quotient image constraint. On the one hand, the prior extracts structural information from all of the projection data. On the other hand, the effect from a possibly imprecise intensity level of the prior can be mitigated by minimizing the total variance of a quotient image.Results:
The authors present a new scheme for a SegMECT configuration and establish a reconstruction method for such a system. Both numerical simulation and a practical phantom experiment are conducted to validate the proposed reconstruction method and the effectiveness of the system design. The results demonstrate that the proposed SegMECT can provide both attenuation images and material decomposition images of reasonable image quality. Compared to existing methods, the new system configuration demonstrates advantages in simplicity of implementation, system cost, and dose control.Conclusions:
This proposed SegMECT imaging approach has great potential for practical applications. It can be readily realized on a conventional CT system.