Volume 42, Issue 2, February 2015
Index of content:
Noncoplanar beams improve dosimetry quality for extracranial intensity modulated radiotherapy and should be used more extensively42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4895981View Description Hide Description
- MEDICAL PHYSICS LETTER
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4906169View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To demonstrate the feasibility of proton-induced x-ray fluorescence CT (pXFCT) imaging of gold in a small animal sized object by means of experiments and Monte Carlo (MC) simulations.Methods:
First, proton-induced gold x-ray fluorescence (pXRF) was measured as a function of gold concentration. Vials of 2.2 cm in diameter filled with 0%–5% Au solutions were irradiated with a 220 MeV proton beam and x-ray fluorescence induced by the interaction of protons, and Au was detected with a 3 × 3 mm2 CdTe detector placed at 90° with respect to the incident proton beam at a distance of 45 cm from the vials. Second, a 7-cm diameter water phantom containing three 2.2-diameter vials with 3%–5% Au solutions was imaged with a 7-mm FWHM 220 MeV proton beam in a first generation CT scanning geometry. X-rays scattered perpendicular to the incident proton beam were acquired with the CdTe detector placed at 45 cm from the phantom positioned on a translation/rotation stage. Twenty one translational steps spaced by 3 mm at each of 36 projection angles spaced by 10° were acquired, and pXFCT images of the phantom were reconstructed with filtered back projection. A simplified geometry of the experimental data acquisition setup was modeled with the MC TOPAS code, and simulation results were compared to the experimental data.Results:
A linear relationship between gold pXRF and gold concentration was observed in both experimental and MC simulation data (R 2 > 0.99). All Au vials were apparent in the experimental and simulated pXFCT images. Specifically, the 3% Au vial was detectable in the experimental [contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) = 5.8] and simulated (CNR = 11.5) pXFCT image. Due to fluorescence x-ray attenuation in the higher concentration vials, the 4% and 5% Au contrast were underestimated by 10% and 15%, respectively, in both the experimental and simulated pXFCT images.Conclusions:
Proton-induced x-ray fluorescence CT imaging of 3%–5% gold solutions in a small animal sized water phantom has been demonstrated for the first time by means of experiments and MC simulations.
- RADIATION THERAPY PHYSICS
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4905047View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Range verification in ion beam therapy relies to date on nuclear imaging techniques which require complex and costly detector systems. A different approach is the detection of thermoacoustic signals that are generated due to localized energy loss of ion beams in tissue (ionoacoustics). Aim of this work was to study experimentally the achievable position resolution of ionoacoustics under idealized conditions using high frequency ultrasonic transducers and a specifically selected probing beam.Methods:
A water phantom was irradiated by a pulsed 20 MeV proton beam with varying pulse intensity and length. The acoustic signal of single proton pulses was measured by different PZT-based ultrasound detectors (3.5 and 10 MHz central frequencies). The proton dose distribution in water was calculated by Geant4 and used as input for simulation of the generated acoustic wave by the matlab toolbox k-WAVE.Results:
In measurements from this study, a clear signal of the Bragg peak was observed for an energy deposition as low as 1012 eV. The signal amplitude showed a linear increase with particle number per pulse and thus, dose. Bragg peak position measurements were reproducible within ±30 μm and agreed with Geant4 simulations to better than 100 μm. The ionoacoustic signal pattern allowed for a detailed analysis of the Bragg peak and could be well reproduced by k-WAVE simulations.Conclusions:
The authors have studied the ionoacoustic signal of the Bragg peak in experiments using a 20 MeV proton beam with its correspondingly localized energy deposition, demonstrating submillimeter position resolution and providing a deep insight in the correlation between the acoustic signal and Bragg peak shape. These results, together with earlier experiments and new simulations (including the results in this study) at higher energies, suggest ionoacoustics as a technique for range verification in particle therapy at locations, where the tumor can be localized by ultrasound imaging. This acoustic range verification approach could offer the possibility of combining anatomical ultrasound and Bragg peak imaging, but further studies are required for translation of these findings to clinical application.
The evaluation of a 2D diode array in “magic phantom” for use in high dose rate brachytherapy pretreatment quality assurance42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4905233View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
High dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy is a treatment method that is used increasingly worldwide. The development of a sound quality assurance program for the verification of treatment deliveries can be challenging due to the high source activity utilized and the need for precise measurements of dwell positions and times. This paper describes the application of a novel phantom, based on a 2D 11 × 11 diode array detection system, named “magic phantom” (MPh), to accurately measure plan dwell positions and times, compare them directly to the treatment plan, determine errors in treatment delivery, and calculate absorbed dose.Methods:
The magic phantom system was CT scanned and a 20 catheter plan was generated to simulate a nonspecific treatment scenario. This plan was delivered to the MPh and, using a custom developed software suite, the dwell positions and times were measured and compared to the plan. The original plan was also modified, with changes not disclosed to the primary authors, and measured again using the device and software to determine the modifications. A new metric, the “position–time gamma index,” was developed to quantify the quality of a treatment delivery when compared to the treatment plan. The MPh was evaluated to determine the minimum measurable dwell time and step size. The incorporation of the TG-43U1 formalism directly into the software allows for dose calculations to be made based on the measured plan. The estimated dose distributions calculated by the software were compared to the treatment plan and to calibrated EBT3 film, using the 2D gamma analysis method.Results:
For the original plan, the magic phantom system was capable of measuring all dwell points and dwell times and the majority were found to be within 0.93 mm and 0.25 s, respectively, from the plan. By measuring the altered plan and comparing it to the unmodified treatment plan, the use of the position–time gamma index showed that all modifications made could be readily detected. The MPh was able to measure dwell times down to 0.067 ± 0.001 s and planned dwell positions separated by 1 mm. The dose calculation carried out by the MPh software was found to be in agreement with values calculated by the treatment planning system within 0.75%. Using the 2D gamma index, the dose map of the MPh plane and measured EBT3 were found to have a pass rate of over 95% when compared to the original plan.Conclusions:
The application of this magic phantom quality assurance system to HDR brachytherapy has demonstrated promising ability to perform the verification of treatment plans, based upon the measured dwell positions and times. The introduction of the quantitative position–time gamma index allows for direct comparison of measured parameters against the plan and could be used prior to patient treatment to ensure accurate delivery.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4905042View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Spatial fractionation of the dose has proven to be a promising approach to increase the tolerance of healthy tissue, which is the main limitation of radiotherapy. A good example of that is GRID therapy, which has been successfully used in the management of large tumors with low toxicity. The aim of this work is to explore new avenues using nonconventional sources: GRID therapy by using kilovoltage (synchrotron) x-rays, the use of very high-energy electrons, and proton GRID therapy. They share in common the use of the smallest possible grid sizes in order to exploit the dose–volume effects.Methods:
Monte Carlo simulations (penelope/peneasy and geant4/GATE codes) were used as a method to study dose distributions resulting from irradiations in different configurations of the three proposed techniques. As figure of merit, percentage (peak and valley) depth dose curves, penumbras, and central peak-to-valley dose ratios (PVDR) were evaluated. As shown in previous biological experiments, high PVDR values are requested for healthy tissue sparing. A superior tumor control may benefit from a lower PVDR.Results:
High PVDR values were obtained in the healthy tissue for the three cases studied. When low energy photons are used, the treatment of deep-seated tumors can still be performed with submillimetric grid sizes. Superior PVDR values were reached with the other two approaches in the first centimeters along the beam path. The use of protons has the advantage of delivering a uniform dose distribution in the tumor, while healthy tissue benefits from the spatial fractionation of the dose. In the three evaluated techniques, there is a net reduction in penumbra with respect to radiosurgery.Conclusions:
The high PVDR values in the healthy tissue and the use of small grid sizes in the three presented approaches might constitute a promising alternative to treat tumors with such spatially fractionated radiotherapy techniques. The dosimetric results presented here support the interest of performing radiobiology experiments in order to evaluate these new avenues.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4905107View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Cone-beam CT (CBCT) projection images provide anatomical data in real-time over several respiratory cycles, forming a comprehensive picture of tumor movement. The authors developed and validated a method which uses these projections to determine the trajectory of and dose to highly mobile tumors during each fraction of treatment.Methods:
CBCT images of a respiration phantom were acquired, the trajectory of which mimicked a lung tumor with high amplitude (up to 2.5 cm) and hysteresis. A template-matching algorithm was used to identify the location of a steel BB in each CBCT projection, and a Gaussian probability density function for the absolute BB position was calculated which best fit the observed trajectory of the BB in the imager geometry. Two modifications of the trajectory reconstruction were investigated: first, using respiratory phase information to refine the trajectory estimation (Phase), and second, using the Monte Carlo (MC) method to sample the estimated Gaussian tumor position distribution. The accuracies of the proposed methods were evaluated by comparing the known and calculated BB trajectories in phantom-simulated clinical scenarios using abdominal tumor volumes.Results:
With all methods, the mean position of the BB was determined with accuracy better than 0.1 mm, and root-mean-square trajectory errors averaged 3.8% ± 1.1% of the marker amplitude. Dosimetric calculations using Phase methods were more accurate, with mean absolute error less than 0.5%, and with error less than 1% in the highest-noise trajectory. MC-based trajectories prevent the overestimation of dose, but when viewed in an absolute sense, add a small amount of dosimetric error (<0.1%).Conclusions:
Marker trajectory and target dose-of-the-day were accurately calculated using CBCT projections. This technique provides a method to evaluate highly mobile tumors using ordinary CBCT data, and could facilitate better strategies to mitigate or compensate for motion during stereotactic body radiotherapy.
Monte Carlo simulations of patient dose perturbations in rotational-type radiotherapy due to a transverse magnetic field: A tomotherapy investigation42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4905168View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Several groups are exploring the integration of magnetic resonance (MR) image guidance with radiotherapy to reduce tumor position uncertainty during photon radiotherapy. The therapeutic gain from reducing tumor position uncertainty using intrafraction MR imaging during radiotherapy could be partially offset if the negative effects of magnetic field-induced dose perturbations are not appreciated or accounted for. The authors hypothesize that a more rotationally symmetric modality such as helical tomotherapy will permit a systematic mediation of these dose perturbations. This investigation offers a unique look at the dose perturbations due to homogeneous transverse magnetic field during the delivery of Tomotherapy® Treatment System plans under varying degrees of rotational beamlet symmetry.Methods:
The authors accurately reproduced treatment plan beamlet and patient configurations using the Monte Carlo code geant4. This code has a thoroughly benchmarked electromagnetic particle transport physics package well-suited for the radiotherapy energy regime. The three approved clinical treatment plans for this study were for a prostate, head and neck, and lung treatment. The dose heterogeneity index metric was used to quantify the effect of the dose perturbations to the target volumes.Results:
The authors demonstrate the ability to reproduce the clinical dose–volume histograms (DVH) to within 4% dose agreement at each DVH point for the target volumes and most planning structures, and therefore, are able to confidently examine the effects of transverse magnetic fields on the plans. The authors investigated field strengths of 0.35, 0.7, 1, 1.5, and 3 T. Changes to the dose heterogeneity index of 0.1% were seen in the prostate and head and neck case, reflecting negligible dose perturbations to the target volumes, a change from 5.5% to 20.1% was observed with the lung case.Conclusions:
This study demonstrated that the effect of external magnetic fields can be mitigated by exploiting a more rotationally symmetric treatment modality.
Feasibility of a unified approach to intensity-modulated radiation therapy and volume-modulated arc therapy optimization and delivery42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4905373View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To study the feasibility of unified intensity-modulated arc therapy (UIMAT) which combines intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) optimization and delivery to produce superior radiation treatment plans, both in terms of dose distribution and efficiency of beam delivery when compared with either VMAT or IMRT alone.Methods:
An inverse planning algorithm for UIMAT was prototyped within the pinnacle treatment planning system (Philips Healthcare). The IMRT and VMAT deliveries are unified within the same arc, with IMRT being delivered at specific gantry angles within the arc. Optimized gantry angles for the IMRT and VMAT phases are assigned automatically by the inverse optimization algorithm. Optimization of the IMRT and VMAT phases is done simultaneously using a direct aperture optimization algorithm. Five treatment plans each for prostate, head and neck, and lung were generated using a unified optimization technique and compared with clinical IMRT or VMAT plans. Delivery verification was performed with an ArcCheck phantom (Sun Nuclear) on a Varian TrueBeam linear accelerator (Varian Medical Systems).Results:
In this prototype implementation, the UIMAT plans offered the same target dose coverage while reducing mean doses to organs at risk by 8.4% for head-and-neck cases, 5.7% for lung cases, and 3.5% for prostate cases, compared with the VMAT or IMRT plans. In addition, UIMAT can be delivered with similar efficiency as VMAT.Conclusions:
In this proof-of-concept work, a novel radiation therapy optimization and delivery technique that interlaces VMAT or IMRT delivery within the same arc has been demonstrated. Initial results show that unified VMAT/IMRT has the potential to be superior to either standard IMRT or VMAT.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4905375View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To calculate the output factor (OPF) of any irregularly shaped electron beam at extended SSD.Methods:
Circular cutouts were prepared from 2.0 cm diameter to the maximum possible size for 15 × 15 applicator cone. In addition, two irregular cutouts were prepared. For each cutout, percentage depth dose (PDD) at the standard SSD and doses at different SSD values were measured using 6, 9, 12, and 16 MeV electron beam energies on a Varian 2100C LINAC and the distance at which the central axis electron fluence becomes independent of cutout size was determined. The measurements were repeated with an ELEKTA Synergy LINAC using 14 × 14 applicator cone and electron beam energies of 6, 9, 12, and 15 MeV. The PDD measurements were performed using a scanning system and two diodes—one for the signal and the other a stationary reference outside the tank. The doses of the circular cutouts at different SSDs were measured using PTW 0.125 cm3 Semiflex ion-chamber and EDR2 films. The electron fluence was measured using EDR2 films.Results:
For each circular cutout, the lateral buildup ratio (LBR) was calculated from the measured PDD curve using the open applicator cone as the reference field. The effective SSD (SSDeff) of each circular cutout was calculated from the measured doses at different SSD values. Using the LBR value and the radius of the circular cutout, the corresponding lateral spread parameter [σR (z)] was calculated. Taking the cutout size dependence of σR (z) into account, the PDD curves of the irregularly shaped cutouts at the standard SSD were calculated. Using the calculated PDD curve of the irregularly shaped cutout along with the LBR and SSDeff values of the circular cutouts, the output factor of the irregularly shaped cutout at extended SSD was calculated. Finally, both the calculated PDD curves and output factor values were compared with the measured values.Conclusions:
The improved LBR method has been generalized to calculate the output factor of electron therapy at extended SSD. The percentage difference between the calculated and the measured output factors of irregularly shaped cutouts in a clinical useful SSD region was within 2%. Similar results were obtained for all available electron energies of both Varian 2100C and ELEKTA Synergy machines.
Toward adaptive radiotherapy for head and neck patients: Uncertainties in dose warping due to the choice of deformable registration algorithm42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4905050View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The aims of this work were to evaluate the performance of several deformable image registration (DIR) algorithms implemented in our in-house software (NiftyReg) and the uncertainties inherent to using different algorithms for dose warping.Methods:
The authors describe a DIR based adaptive radiotherapy workflow, using CT and cone-beam CT (CBCT) imaging. The transformations that mapped the anatomy between the two time points were obtained using four different DIR approaches available in NiftyReg. These included a standard unidirectional algorithm and more sophisticated bidirectional ones that encourage or ensure inverse consistency. The forward (CT-to-CBCT) deformation vector fields (DVFs) were used to propagate the CT Hounsfield units and structures to the daily geometry for “dose of the day” calculations, while the backward (CBCT-to-CT) DVFs were used to remap the dose of the day onto the planning CT (pCT). Data from five head and neck patients were used to evaluate the performance of each implementation based on geometrical matching, physical properties of the DVFs, and similarity between warped dose distributions. Geometrical matching was verified in terms of dice similarity coefficient (DSC), distance transform, false positives, and false negatives. The physical properties of the DVFs were assessed calculating the harmonic energy, determinant of the Jacobian, and inverse consistency error of the transformations. Dose distributions were displayed on the pCT dose space and compared using dose difference (DD), distance to dose difference, and dose volume histograms.Results:
All the DIR algorithms gave similar results in terms of geometrical matching, with an average DSC of 0.85 ± 0.08, but the underlying properties of the DVFs varied in terms of smoothness and inverse consistency. When comparing the doses warped by different algorithms, we found a root mean square DD of 1.9% ± 0.8% of the prescribed dose (pD) and that an average of 9% ± 4% of voxels within the treated volume failed a 2%pD DD-test (DD2%-pp). Larger DD2%-pp was found within the high dose gradient (21% ± 6%) and regions where the CBCT quality was poorer (28% ± 9%). The differences when estimating the mean and maximum dose delivered to organs-at-risk were up to 2.0%pD and 2.8%pD, respectively.Conclusions:
The authors evaluated several DIR algorithms for CT-to-CBCT registrations. In spite of all methods resulting in comparable geometrical matching, the choice of DIR implementation leads to uncertainties in dose warped, particularly in regions of high gradient and/or poor imaging quality.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4905111View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Develop and clinically validate a methodology for using cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) imaging in an automated treatment planning framework for breast IMRT.Methods:
A technique for intensity correction of CBCT images was developed and evaluated. The technique is based on histogram matching of CBCT image sets, using information from “similar” planning CT image sets from a database of paired CBCT and CT image sets (n = 38). Automated treatment plans were generated for a testing subset (n = 15) on the planning CT and the corrected CBCT. The plans generated on the corrected CBCT were compared to the CT-based plans in terms of beam parameters, dosimetric indices, and dose distributions.Results:
The corrected CBCT images showed considerable similarity to their corresponding planning CTs (average mutual information 1.0±0.1, average sum of absolute differences 185 ± 38). The automated CBCT-based plans were clinically acceptable, as well as equivalent to the CT-based plans with average gantry angle difference of 0.99°±1.1°, target volume overlap index (Dice) of 0.89±0.04 although with slightly higher maximum target doses (4482±90 vs 4560±84, P < 0.05). Gamma index analysis (3%, 3 mm) showed that the CBCT-based plans had the same dose distribution as plans calculated with the same beams on the registered planning CTs (average gamma index 0.12±0.04, gamma <1 in 99.4%±0.3%).Conclusions:
The proposed method demonstrates the potential for a clinically feasible and efficient online adaptive breast IMRT planning method based on CBCT imaging, integrating automation.
A deterministic solution of the first order linear Boltzmann transport equation in the presence of external magnetic fields42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4905041View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Accurate radiotherapy dose calculation algorithms are essential to any successful radiotherapy program, considering the high level of dose conformity and modulation in many of today’s treatment plans. As technology continues to progress, such as is the case with novel MRI-guided radiotherapy systems, the necessity for dose calculation algorithms to accurately predict delivered dose in increasingly challenging scenarios is vital. To this end, a novel deterministic solution has been developed to the first order linear Boltzmann transport equation which accurately calculates x-ray based radiotherapy doses in the presence of magnetic fields.Methods:
The deterministic formalism discussed here with the inclusion of magnetic fields is outlined mathematically using a discrete ordinates angular discretization in an attempt to leverage existing deterministic codes. It is compared against the EGSnrc Monte Carlo code, utilizing the emf_macros addition which calculates the effects of electromagnetic fields. This comparison is performed in an inhomogeneous phantom that was designed to present a challenging calculation for deterministic calculations in 0, 0.6, and 3 T magnetic fields oriented parallel and perpendicular to the radiation beam. The accuracy of the formalism discussed here against Monte Carlo was evaluated with a gamma comparison using a standard 2%/2 mm and a more stringent 1%/1 mm criterion for a standard reference 10 × 10 cm2 field as well as a smaller 2 × 2 cm2 field.Results:
Greater than 99.8% (94.8%) of all points analyzed passed a 2%/2 mm (1%/1 mm) gamma criterion for all magnetic field strengths and orientations investigated. All dosimetric changes resulting from the inclusion of magnetic fields were accurately calculated using the deterministic formalism. However, despite the algorithm’s high degree of accuracy, it is noticed that this formalism was not unconditionally stable using a discrete ordinate angular discretization.Conclusions:
The feasibility of including magnetic field effects in a deterministic solution to the first order linear Boltzmann transport equation is shown. The results show a high degree of accuracy when compared against Monte Carlo calculations in all magnetic field strengths and orientations tested.
Monte Carlo simulation of the dose response of a novel 2D silicon diode array for use in hybrid MRI–LINAC systems42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4905108View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
MRI-guided radiation therapy systems (MRIgRT) are being developed to improve online imaging during treatment delivery. At present, the operation of single point dosimeters and an ionization chamber array have been characterized in such systems. This work investigates a novel 2D diode array, named “magic plate,” for both single point calibration and 2D positional performance, the latter being a key element of modern radiotherapy techniques that will be delivered by these systems.Methods:
geant4 Monte Carlo methods have been employed to study the dose response of a silicon diode array to 6 MV photon beams, in the presence of in-line and perpendicularly aligned uniform magnetic fields. The array consists of 121 silicon diodes (dimensions 1.5 × 1.5 × 0.38 mm3) embedded in kapton substrate with 1 cm pitch, spanning a 10 × 10 cm2 area in total. A geometrically identical, water equivalent volume was simulated concurrently for comparison. The dose response of the silicon diode array was assessed for various photon beam field shapes and sizes, including an IMRT field, at 1 T. The dose response was further investigated at larger magnetic field strengths (1.5 and 3 T) for a 4 × 4 cm2 photon field size.Results:
The magic plate diode array shows excellent correspondence (< ± 1%) to water dose in the in-line orientation, for all beam arrangements and magnetic field strengths investigated. The perpendicular orientation, however, exhibits a dose shift with respect to water at the high-dose-gradient beam edge of jaw-defined fields [maximum (4.3 ± 0.8)% over-response, maximum (1.8 ± 0.8)% under-response on opposing side for 1 T, uncertainty 1σ]. The trend is not evident in areas with in-field dose gradients typical of IMRT dose maps.Conclusions:
A novel 121 pixel silicon diode array detector has been characterized by Monte Carlo simulation for its performance inside magnetic fields representative of current prototype and proposed MRI–linear accelerator systems. In the in-line orientation, the silicon dose is directly proportional to the water dose. In the perpendicular orientation, there is a shift in dose response relative to water in the highest dose gradient regions, at the edge of jaw-defined and single-segment MLC fields. The trend was not observed in-field for an IMRT beam. The array is expected to be a valuable tool in MRIgRT dosimetry.
3D calculation of radiation-induced second cancer risk including dose and tissue response heterogeneities42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4905158View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Tools for comparing relative induced second cancer risk, to inform choice of radiotherapy treatment plan, are becoming increasingly necessary as the availability of new treatment modalities expands. Uncertainties, in both radiobiological models and model parameters, limit the confidence of such calculations. The aim of this study was to develop and demonstrate a software tool to produce a malignant induction probability (MIP) calculation which incorporates patient-specific dose and allows for the varying responses of different tissue types to radiation.Methods:
The tool has been used to calculate relative MIPs for four different treatment plans targeting a subtotally resected meningioma: 3D conformal radiotherapy (3DCFRT), volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT), intensity-modulated x-ray therapy (IMRT), and scanned protons.Results:
Two plausible MIP models, with considerably different dose–response relationships, were considered. A fractionated linear–quadratic induction and cell-kill model gave a mean relative cancer risk (normalized to 3DCFRT) of 113% for VMAT, 16% for protons, and 52% for IMRT. For a linear no-threshold model, these figures were 105%, 42%, and 78%, respectively. The relative MIP between plans was shown to be significantly more robust to radiobiological parameter uncertainties compared to absolute MIP. Both models resulted in the same ranking of modalities, in terms of MIP, for this clinical case.Conclusions:
The results demonstrate that relative MIP is a useful metric with which treatment plans can be ranked, regardless of parameter- and model-based uncertainties. With further validation, this metric could be used to discriminate between plans that are equivalent with respect to other planning priorities.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4906183View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The objective of this work was to develop a comprehensive knowledge-based methodology for predicting achievable dose–volume histograms (DVHs) and highly precise DVH-based quality metrics (QMs) in stereotactic radiosurgery/radiotherapy (SRS/SRT) plans. Accurate QM estimation can identify suboptimal treatment plans and provide target optimization objectives to standardize and improve treatment planning.Methods:
Correlating observed dose as it relates to the geometric relationship of organs-at-risk (OARs) to planning target volumes (PTVs) yields mathematical models to predict achievable DVHs. In SRS, DVH-based QMs such as brain V 10Gy (volume receiving 10 Gy or more), gradient measure (GM), and conformity index (CI) are used to evaluate plan quality. This study encompasses 223 linear accelerator-based SRS/SRT treatment plans (SRS plans) using volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT), representing 95% of the institution’s VMAT radiosurgery load from the past four and a half years. Unfiltered models that use all available plans for the model training were built for each category with a stratification scheme based on target and OAR characteristics determined emergently through initial modeling process. Model predictive accuracy is measured by the mean and standard deviation of the difference between clinical and predicted QMs, δQM = QMclin − QMpred, and a coefficient of determination, R 2. For categories with a large number of plans, refined models are constructed by automatic elimination of suspected suboptimal plans from the training set. Using the refined model as a presumed achievable standard, potentially suboptimal plans are identified. Predictions of QM improvement are validated via standardized replanning of 20 suspected suboptimal plans based on dosimetric predictions. The significance of the QM improvement is evaluated using the Wilcoxon signed rank test.Results:
The most accurate predictions are obtained when plans are stratified based on proximity to OARs and their PTV volume sizes. Volumes are categorized into small (V PTV < 2 cm3), medium (2 cm3 < V PTV < 25 cm3), and large (25 cm3 < V PTV). The unfiltered models demonstrate the ability to predict GMs to ∼1 mm and fractional brain V 10Gy to ∼25% for plans with large V PTV and critical OAR involvements. Increased accuracy and precision of QM predictions are obtained when high quality plans are selected for the model training. For the small and medium V PTV plans without critical OAR involvement, predictive ability was evaluated using the refined model. For training plans, the model predicted GM to an accuracy of 0.2 ± 0.3 mm and fractional brain V 10Gy to 0.04 ± 0.12, suggesting highly accurate predictive ability. For excluded plans, the average δGM was 1.1 mm and fractional brain V 10Gy was 0.20. These δQM are significantly greater than those of the model training plans (p < 0.001). For CI, predictions are close to clinical values and no significant difference was observed between the training and excluded plans (p = 0.19). Twenty outliers with δGM > 1.35 mm were identified as potentially suboptimal, and replanning these cases using predicted target objectives demonstrates significant improvements on QMs: on average, 1.1 mm reduction in GM (p < 0.001) and 23% reduction in brain V 10Gy (p < 0.001). After replanning, the difference of δGM distribution between the 20 replans and the refined model training plans was marginal.Conclusions:
The results demonstrate the ability to predict SRS QMs precisely and to identify suboptimal plans. Furthermore, the knowledge-based DVH predictions were directly used as target optimization objectives and allowed a standardized planning process that bettered the clinically approved plans. Full clinical application of this methodology can improve consistency of SRS plan quality in a wide range of PTV volume and proximity to OARs and facilitate automated treatment planning for this critical treatment site.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4906185View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Dose and monitor units (MUs) represent two important facets of a radiation therapy treatment. In current practice, verification of a treatment plan is commonly done in dose domain, in which a phantom measurement or forward dose calculation is performed to examine the dosimetric accuracy and the MU settings of a given treatment plan. While it is desirable to verify directly the MU settings, a computational framework for obtaining the MU values from a known dose distribution has yet to be developed. This work presents a strategy to calculate independently the MUs from a given dose distribution of volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) and station parameter optimized radiation therapy (SPORT).Methods:
The dose at a point can be expressed as a sum of contributions from all the station points (or control points). This relationship forms the basis of the proposed MU verification technique. To proceed, the authors first obtain the matrix elements which characterize the dosimetric contribution of the involved station points by computing the doses at a series of voxels, typically on the prescription surface of the VMAT/SPORT treatment plan, with unit MU setting for all the station points. An in-house Monte Carlo (MC) software is used for the dose matrix calculation. The MUs of the station points are then derived by minimizing the least-squares difference between doses computed by the treatment planning system (TPS) and that of the MC for the selected set of voxels on the prescription surface. The technique is applied to 16 clinical cases with a variety of energies, disease sites, and TPS dose calculation algorithms.Results:
For all plans except the lung cases with large tissue density inhomogeneity, the independently computed MUs agree with that of TPS to within 2.7% for all the station points. In the dose domain, no significant difference between the MC and Eclipse Anisotropic Analytical Algorithm (AAA) dose distribution is found in terms of isodose contours, dose profiles, gamma index, and dose volume histogram (DVH) for these cases. For the lung cases, the MC-calculated MUs differ significantly from that of the treatment plan computed using AAA. However, the discrepancies are reduced to within 3% when the TPS dose calculation algorithm is switched to a transport equation-based technique (Acuros™). Comparison in the dose domain between the MC and Eclipse AAA/Acuros calculation yields conclusion consistent with the MU calculation.Conclusions:
A computational framework relating the MU and dose domains has been established. The framework does not only enable them to verify the MU values of the involved station points of a VMAT plan directly in the MU domain but also provide a much needed mechanism to adaptively modify the MU values of the station points in accordance to a specific change in the dose domain.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4906193View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
In the framework of developing the integration of a MRI-Linac system, configurations of MRI-Linac units were simulated in order to improve the dose distribution in tangential breast radiotherapy using transverse and longitudinal magnetic field geometries of Lorentz force for both medial and lateral tangential fields.Methods:
In this work, the geant4 Monte Carlo (MC) code was utilized to compare dose distributions in breast radiotherapy for Linac-MR systems in the transverse and longitudinal geometries within humanoid phantoms across a range of magnetic field strengths of 0.5 and 1.5 T. The dose increment due to scattering from the coils was investigated for both geometries as well. Computed tomography images of two patients were used for MC simulations. One patient had intact breast while the other was mastectomized. In the simulations, planning and methods of chest wall irradiation were similar to the actual clinical planning.Results:
In a longitudinal geometry, the magnetic field is shown to restrict the lateral spread of secondary electrons to the lung, heart, and contralateral organs, which reduced the mean dose of the ipsilateral lung and heart by means of 17.2% and 6% at 1.5 T, respectively. The transverse configuration exhibits a significant increase in tissue interface effects, which increased dose buildup in the entrance regions of the lateral and medial tangent beams to the planning target volume (PTV) and improved dose homogeneity within the PTV. The improved relative average homogeneity index for two patients to the PTV at magnetic field strength of 1.5 T with respect to no magnetic field case evaluated was 11.79% and 34.45% in the LRBP and TRBP geometries, respectively. In both geometries, the simulations show significant mean dose reductions in the contralateral breast and chest wall skin, respectively, by a mean of 16.6% and 24.9% at 0.5 T and 17.2% and 28.1% at 1.5 T in the transverse geometry, and 10.56% and 14.6% at 0.5 T and 11.3% and 16.3% at 1.5 T in the longitudinal geometry. Considering the scattered photons which reflected from the coils, the average relative dose of each voxel is slightly increased by 0.53% and 0.32% in the LRBP and TRBP geometries, respectively.Conclusions:
Orienting the B0 magnetic field parallel to the photon beam axis, LRBP geometry, tends to restrict the radial spread of secondary electrons which resulted in dose reduction to the lung. Dosimetry issues observed in both Linac-MR geometries, such as changes to the lateral dose distribution, significantly exhibited dose reduction in the contralateral organs on a representative breast plan. Further, the results show sharper edge dose volume histogram curves at 1.5 T for both geometries, especially in the LRBP configuration.
- RADIATION IMAGING PHYSICS
Four dimensional magnetic resonance imaging with retrospective k-space reordering: A feasibility study42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4905044View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Current four dimensional magnetic resonance imaging (4D-MRI) techniques lack sufficient temporal/spatial resolution and consistent tumor contrast. To overcome these limitations, this study presents the development and initial evaluation of a new strategy for 4D-MRI which is based on retrospective k-space reordering.Methods:
We simulated a k-space reordered 4D-MRI on a 4D digital extended cardiac-torso (XCAT) human phantom. A 2D echo planar imaging MRI sequence [frame rate (F) = 0.448 Hz; image resolution (R) = 256 × 256; number of k-space segments (N KS) = 4] with sequential image acquisition mode was assumed for the simulation. Image quality of the simulated “4D-MRI” acquired from the XCAT phantom was qualitatively evaluated, and tumor motion trajectories were compared to input signals. In particular, mean absolute amplitude differences (D) and cross correlation coefficients (CC) were calculated. Furthermore, to evaluate the data sufficient condition for the new 4D-MRI technique, a comprehensive simulation study was performed using 30 cancer patients’ respiratory profiles to study the relationships between data completeness (Cp ) and a number of impacting factors: the number of repeated scans (NR ), number of slices (NS ), number of respiratory phase bins (NP ), N KS, F, R, and initial respiratory phase at image acquisition (P 0). As a proof-of-concept, we implemented the proposed k-space reordering 4D-MRI technique on a T2-weighted fast spin echo MR sequence and tested it on a healthy volunteer.Results:
The simulated 4D-MRI acquired from the XCAT phantom matched closely to the original XCAT images. Tumor motion trajectories measured from the simulated 4D-MRI matched well with input signals (D = 0.83 and 0.83 mm, and CC = 0.998 and 0.992 in superior–inferior and anterior–posterior directions, respectively). The relationship between Cp and NR was found best represented by an exponential function ( , when NS = 30, NP = 6). At a CP value of 95%, the relative error in tumor volume was 0.66%, indicating that NR at a CP value of 95% (N R,95%) is sufficient. It was found that N R,95% is approximately linearly proportional to NP (r = 0.99), and nearly independent of all other factors. The 4D-MRI images of the healthy volunteer clearly demonstrated respiratory motion in the diaphragm region with minimal motion induced noise or aliasing.Conclusions:
It is feasible to generate respiratory correlated 4D-MRI by retrospectively reordering k-space based on respiratory phase. This new technology may lead to the next generation 4D-MRI with high spatiotemporal resolution and optimal tumor contrast, holding great promises to improve the motion management in radiotherapy of mobile cancers.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4905049View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The most commonly used technology currently used for autoradiography is storage phosphor screens, which has many benefits such as a large field of view but lacks particle-counting detection of the time and energy of each detected radionuclide decay. A number of alternative designs, using either solid state or scintillator detectors, have been developed to address these issues. The aim of this study is to characterize the imaging performance of one such instrument, a double-sided silicon strip detector (DSSD) system for digital autoradiography. A novel aspect of this work is that the instrument, in contrast to previous prototype systems using the same detector type, provides the ability for user accessible imaging with higher throughput. Studies were performed to compare its spatial resolution to that of storage phosphor screens and test the implementation of multiradionuclide ex vivo imaging in a mouse preclinical animal study.Methods:
Detector background counts were determined by measuring a nonradioactive sample slide for 52 h. Energy spectra and detection efficiency were measured for seven commonly used radionuclides under representative conditions for tissue imaging. System dead time was measured by imaging 18F samples of at least 5 kBq and studying the changes in count rate over time. A line source of 58Co was manufactured by irradiating a 10 μm nickel wire with fast neutrons in a research reactor. Samples of this wire were imaged in both the DSSD and storage phosphor screen systems and the full width at half maximum (FWHM) measured for the line profiles. Multiradionuclide imaging was employed in a two animal study to examine the intratumoral distribution of a 125I-labeled monoclonal antibody and a 131I-labeled engineered fragment (diabody) injected in the same mouse, both targeting carcinoembryonic antigen.Results:
Detector background was 1.81 × 10−6 counts per second per 50 × 50 μm pixel. Energy spectra and detection efficiency were successfully measured for seven radionuclides. The system dead time was measured to be 59 μs, and FWHM for a 58Co line source was 154 ± 14 μm for the DSSD system and 343 ± 15 μm for the storage phosphor system. Separation of the contributions from 125I and 131I was performed on autoradiography images of tumor sections.Conclusions:
This study has shown that a DSSD system can be beneficially applied for digital autoradiography with simultaneous multiradionuclide imaging capability. The system has a low background signal, ability to image both low and high activity samples, and a good energy resolution.
Light output measurements and computational models of microcolumnar CsI scintillators for x-ray imaging42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4905096View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The authors report on measurements of light output and spatial resolution of microcolumnar CsI:Tl scintillator detectors for x-ray imaging. In addition, the authors discuss the results of simulations aimed at analyzing the results of synchrotron and sealed-source exposures with respect to the contributions of light transport to the total light output.Methods:
The authors measured light output from a 490-μm CsI:Tl scintillator screen using two setups. First, the authors used a photomultiplier tube (PMT) to measure the response of the scintillator to sealed-source exposures. Second, the authors performed imaging experiments with a 27-keV monoenergetic synchrotron beam and a slit to calculate the total signal generated in terms of optical photons per keV. The results of both methods are compared to simulations obtained with hybridmantis, a coupled x-ray, electron, and optical photon Monte Carlo transport package. The authors report line response (LR) and light output for a range of linear absorption coefficients and describe a model that fits at the same time the light output and the blur measurements. Comparing the experimental results with the simulations, the authors obtained an estimate of the absorption coefficient for the model that provides good agreement with the experimentally measured LR. Finally, the authors report light output simulation results and their dependence on scintillator thickness and reflectivity of the backing surface.Results:
The slit images from the synchrotron were analyzed to obtain a total light output of 48 keV−1 while measurements using the fast PMT instrument setup and sealed-sources reported a light output of 28 keV−1. The authors attribute the difference in light output estimates between the two methods to the difference in time constants between the camera and PMT measurements. Simulation structures were designed to match the light output measured with the camera while providing good agreement with the measured LR resulting in a bulk absorption coefficient of 5 × 10−5 μm−1.Conclusions:
The combination of experimental measurements for microcolumnar CsI:Tl scintillators using sealed-sources and synchrotron exposures with results obtained via simulation suggests that the time course of the emission might play a role in experimental estimates. The procedure yielded an experimentally derived linear absorption coefficient for microcolumnar Cs:Tl of 5 × 10−5 μm−1. To the author’s knowledge, this is the first time this parameter has been validated against experimental observations. The measurements also offer insight into the relative role of optical transport on the effective optical yield of the scintillator with microcolumnar structure.