Index of content:
Volume 43, Issue 8, August 2016
43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4954788View Description Hide Description
Photon radiotherapy has reached its limit in terms of catching up dosimetrically with proton therapy43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4954790View Description Hide Description
- THERAPEUTIC INTERVENTIONS
- Research Articles
43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4954843View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The aims of this study were to noninvasively and automatically estimate both the radius of the ablated liver tissue and the radius encircling the treated zone, which also defines where the tissue is definitely untreated during a microwave (MW) thermal ablation procedure.Methods:
Fourteen ex vivo bovine fresh liver specimens were ablated at 40 W using a 14 G microwave antenna, for durations of 3, 6, 8, and 10 min. The tissues were scanned every 5 s during the ablation using an x-ray CT scanner. In order to estimate the radius of the ablation zone, the acquired images were transformed into a polar presentation by displaying the Hounsfield units (HU) as a function of angle and radius. From this polar presentation, the average HU radial profile was analyzed at each time point and the ablation zone radius was estimated. In addition, textural analysis was applied to the original CT images. The proposed algorithm identified high entropy regions and estimated the treated zone radius per time. The estimated ablated zone radii as a function of treatment durations were compared, by means of correlation coefficient and root mean square error (RMSE) to gross pathology measurements taken immediately post-treatment from similarly ablated tissue.Results:
Both the estimated ablation radii and the treated zone radii demonstrated strong correlation with the measured gross pathology values (R 2 ≥ 0.89 and R 2 ≥ 0.86, respectively). The automated ablation radii estimation had an average discrepancy of less than 1 mm (RMSE = 0.65 mm) from the gross pathology measured values, while the treated zone radii showed a slight overestimation of approximately 1.5 mm (RMSE = 1.6 mm).Conclusions:
Noninvasive monitoring of MW ablation using x-ray CT and image analysis is feasible. Automatic estimations of the ablation zone radius and the radius encompassing the treated zone that highly correlate with actual ablation measured values can be obtained. This technique can therefore potentially be used to obtain real time monitoring and improve the clinical outcome.
43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4955437View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To evaluate the geometric and dosimetric accuracies of the CyberKnife Synchrony respiratory tracking system (RTS) and to validate a method for pretreatment patient-specific delivery quality assurance (DQA).Methods:
An EasyCube phantom was mounted on the ExacTrac gating phantom, which can move along the superior–inferior (SI) axis of a patient to simulate a moving target. The authors compared dynamic and static measurements. For each case, a Gafchromic EBT3 film was positioned between two slabs of the EasyCube, while a PinPoint ionization chamber was placed in the appropriate space. There were three steps to their evaluation: (1) the field size, the penumbra, and the symmetry of six secondary collimators were measured along the two main orthogonal axes. Dynamic measurements with deliberately simulated errors were also taken. (2) The delivered dose distributions (from step 1) were compared with the planned ones, using the gamma analysis method. The local gamma passing rates were evaluated using three acceptance criteria: 3% local dose difference (LDD)/3 mm, 2%LDD/2 mm, and 3%LDD/1 mm. (3) The DQA plans for six clinical patients were irradiated in different dynamic conditions, to give a total of 19 cases. The measured and planned dose distributions were evaluated with the same gamma-index criteria used in step 2 and the measured chamber doses were compared with the planned mean doses in the sensitive volume of the chamber.Results:
(1) A very slight enlargement of the field size and of the penumbra was observed in the SI direction (on average <1 mm), in line with the overall average CyberKnife system error for tracking treatments. (2) Comparison between the planned and the correctly delivered dose distributions confirmed the dosimetric accuracy of the RTS for simple plans. The multicriteria gamma analysis was able to detect the simulated errors, proving the robustness of their method of analysis. (3) All of the DQA clinical plans passed the tests, both in static and dynamic conditions. No statistically significant differences were found between static and dynamic cases, confirming the high degree of accuracy of the Synchrony RTS.Conclusions:
The presented methods and measurements verified the mechanical and dosimetric accuracy of the Synchrony RTS. Their method confirms the fact that the RTS, if used properly, is able to treat a moving target with great precision. By combining PinPoint ion chamber, EBT3 films, and gamma evaluation of dose distributions, their DQA method robustly validated the effectiveness of CyberKnife and Synchrony system.
An online replanning method using warm start optimization and aperture morphing for flattening-filter-free beams43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4955439View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
In a situation where a couch shift for patient positioning is not preferred or prohibited (e.g., MR-linac), segment aperture morphing (SAM) can address target dislocation and deformation. For IMRT/VMAT with flattening-filter-free (FFF) beams, however, SAM method would lead to an adverse translational dose effect due to the beam unflattening. Here the authors propose a new two-step process to address both the translational effect of FFF beams and the target deformation.Methods:
The replanning method consists of an offline and an online step. The offline step is to create a series of preshifted-plans (PSPs) obtained by a so-called “warm start” optimization (starting optimization from the original plan, rather than from scratch) at a series of isocenter shifts. The PSPs all have the same number of segments with very similar shapes, since the warm start optimization only adjusts the MLC positions instead of regenerating them. In the online step, a new plan is obtained by picking the closest PSP or linearly interpolating the MLC positions and the monitor units of the closest PSPs for the shift determined from the image of the day. This two-step process is completely automated and almost instantaneous (no optimization or dose calculation needed). The previously developed SAM algorithm is then applied for daily deformation. The authors tested the method on sample prostate and pancreas cases.Results:
The two-step interpolation method can account for the adverse dose effects from FFF beams, while SAM corrects for the target deformation. Plan interpolation method is effective in diminishing the unflat beam effect and may allow reducing the required number of PSPs. The whole process takes the same time as the previously reported SAM process (5–10 min).Conclusions:
The new two-step method plus SAM can address both the translation effects of FFF beams and target deformation, and can be executed in full automation except the delineation of target contour required by the SAM process.
Reconstruction of implanted marker trajectories from cone-beam CT projection images using interdimensional correlation modeling43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4958678View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Cone-beam CT (CBCT) is a widely used imaging modality for image-guided radiotherapy. Most vendors provide CBCT systems that are mounted on a linac gantry. Thus, CBCT can be used to estimate the actual 3-dimensional (3D) position of moving respiratory targets in the thoracic/abdominal region using 2D projection images. The authors have developed a method for estimating the 3D trajectory of respiratory-induced target motion from CBCT projection images using interdimensional correlation modeling.Methods:
Because the superior–inferior (SI) motion of a target can be easily analyzed on projection images of a gantry-mounted CBCT system, the authors investigated the interdimensional correlation of the SI motion with left–right and anterior–posterior (AP) movements while the gantry is rotating. A simple linear model and a state-augmented model were implemented and applied to the interdimensional correlation analysis, and their performance was compared. The parameters of the interdimensional correlation models were determined by least-square estimation of the 2D error between the actual and estimated projected target position. The method was validated using 160 3D tumor trajectories from 46 thoracic/abdominal cancer patients obtained during CyberKnife treatment. The authors’ simulations assumed two application scenarios: (1) retrospective estimation for the purpose of moving tumor setup used just after volumetric matching with CBCT; and (2) on-the-fly estimation for the purpose of real-time target position estimation during gating or tracking delivery, either for full-rotation volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) in 60 s or a stationary six-field intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) with a beam delivery time of 20 s.Results:
For the retrospective CBCT simulations, the mean 3D root-mean-square error (RMSE) for all 4893 trajectory segments was 0.41 mm (simple linear model) and 0.35 mm (state-augmented model). In the on-the-fly simulations, prior projections over more than 60° appear to be necessary for reliable estimations. The mean 3D RMSE during beam delivery after the simple linear model had established with a prior 90° projection data was 0.42 mm for VMAT and 0.45 mm for IMRT.Conclusions:
The proposed method does not require any internal/external correlation or statistical modeling to estimate the target trajectory and can be used for both retrospective image-guided radiotherapy with CBCT projection images and real-time target position monitoring for respiratory gating or tracking.
An integrated model-driven method for in-treatment upper airway motion tracking using cine MRI in head and neck radiation therapy43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4955118View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
For the first time, MRI-guided radiation therapy systems can acquire cine images to dynamically monitor in-treatment internal organ motion. However, the complex head and neck (H&N) structures and low-contrast/resolution of on-board cine MRI images make automatic motion tracking a very challenging task. In this study, the authors proposed an integrated model-driven method to automatically track the in-treatment motion of the H&N upper airway, a complex and highly deformable region wherein internal motion often occurs in an either voluntary or involuntary manner, from cine MRI images for the analysis of H&N motion patterns.Methods:
Considering the complex H&N structures and ensuring automatic and robust upper airway motion tracking, the authors firstly built a set of linked statistical shapes (including face, face-jaw, and face-jaw-palate) using principal component analysis from clinically approved contours delineated on a set of training data. The linked statistical shapes integrate explicit landmarks and implicit shape representation. Then, a hierarchical model-fitting algorithm was developed to align the linked shapes on the first image frame of a to-be-tracked cine sequence and to localize the upper airway region. Finally, a multifeature level set contour propagation scheme was performed to identify the upper airway shape change, frame-by-frame, on the entire image sequence. The multifeature fitting energy, including the information of intensity variations, edge saliency, curve geometry, and temporal shape continuity, was minimized to capture the details of moving airway boundaries. Sagittal cine MR image sequences acquired from three H&N cancer patients were utilized to demonstrate the performance of the proposed motion tracking method.Results:
The tracking accuracy was validated by comparing the results to the average of two manual delineations in 50 randomly selected cine image frames from each patient. The resulting average dice similarity coefficient (93.28% ± 1.46%) and margin error (0.49 ± 0.12 mm) showed good agreement between the automatic and manual results. The comparison with three other deformable model-based segmentation methods illustrated the superior shape tracking performance of the proposed method. Large interpatient variations of swallowing frequency, swallowing duration, and upper airway cross-sectional area were observed from the testing cine image sequences.Conclusions:
The proposed motion tracking method can provide accurate upper airway motion tracking results, and enable automatic and quantitative identification and analysis of in-treatment H&N upper airway motion. By integrating explicit and implicit linked-shape representations within a hierarchical model-fitting process, the proposed tracking method can process complex H&N structures and low-contrast/resolution cine MRI images. Future research will focus on the improvement of method reliability, patient motion pattern analysis for providing more information on patient-specific prediction of structure displacements, and motion effects on dosimetry for better H&N motion management in radiation therapy.
- Technical Notes
Technical Note: Dosimetric effects of couch position variability on treatment plan quality with an MRI-guided Co-60 radiation therapy machine43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4955116View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guidance in radiation therapy brings real-time imaging and adaptive planning into the treatment vault where it can account for interfraction and intrafraction movement of soft tissue. The only commercially available MRI-guided radiation therapy device is a three-head 60Co and MRI system with an integrated treatment planning system (TPS). Couch attenuation of the beam of up to 20% is well modeled in the TPS. Variations in the patient’s day-to-day position introduce discrepancies in the actual couch attenuation as modeled in the treatment plan. For this reason, the authors’ institution avoids plans with beams that pass through or near the couch edges. This study investigates the effects of differential beam attenuation by the couch due to couch shifts in order to determine whether couch edge avoidance restrictions can be lifted. Couch shifts were simulated using a Monte Carlo treatment planning system and ion chamber measurements performed for validation.Methods:
A total of 27 plans from 23 patients were investigated. Couch shifts of 1 and 2 cm were introduced in combinations of lateral and vertical directions to simulate patient position variations giving 16 shifted plans per reference plan. The 1 and 2 cm shifts were based on shifts recorded in 320 treatment fractions.Results:
Following TG176 recommendations for measurement methods, couch attenuation measurements agreed with TPS modeled attenuation to within 2.1%. Planning target volume D95 changed less than 1% for 1 and 2 cm couch shifts in only the x-direction and less than 3% for all directions.Conclusions:
Dosimetry of all plans tested was robust to couch shifts up to ±2 cm. In general, couch shifts resulted in clinically insignificant dosimetric deviations. It is conceivable that in certain cases with large systematic couch shifts and plans that are particularly sensitive to shifts, dosimetric changes might rise to a clinically significant level.
Technical Note: A treatment plan comparison between dynamic collimation and a fixed aperture during spot scanning proton therapy for brain treatment43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4955117View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To quantitatively assess the advantages of energy-layer specific dynamic collimation system (DCS) versus a per-field fixed aperture for spot scanning proton therapy (SSPT).Methods:
Five brain cancer patients previously planned and treated with SSPT were replanned using an in-house treatment planning system capable of modeling collimated and uncollimated proton beamlets. The uncollimated plans, which served as a baseline for comparison, reproduced the target coverage and organ-at-risk sparing of the clinically delivered plans. The collimator opening for the fixed aperture-based plans was determined from the combined cross sections of the target in the beam’s eye view over all energy layers which included an additional margin equivalent to the maximum beamlet displacement for the respective energy of that energy layer. The DCS-based plans were created by selecting appropriate collimator positions for each row of beam spots during a Raster-style scanning pattern which were optimized to maximize the dose contributions to the target and limited the dose delivered to adjacent normal tissue.Results:
The reduction of mean dose to normal tissue adjacent to the target, as defined by a 10 mm ring surrounding the target, averaged 13.65% (range: 11.8%–16.9%) and 5.18% (2.9%–7.1%) for the DCS and fixed aperture plans, respectively. The conformity index, as defined by the ratio of the volume of the 50% isodose line to the target volume, yielded an average improvement of 21.35% (19.4%–22.6%) and 8.38% (4.7%–12.0%) for the DCS and fixed aperture plans, respectively.Conclusions:
The ability of the DCS to provide collimation to each energy layer yielded better conformity in comparison to fixed aperture plans.
43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4958963View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To develop a comprehensive peripheral dose (PD) dataset for the two unflattened beams of nominal energy 6 and 10 MV for use in clinical care.Methods:
Measurements were made in a 40 × 120 × 20 cm3 (width × length × depth) stack of solid water using an ionization chamber at varying depths (dmax, 5, and 10 cm), field sizes (3 × 3 to 30 × 30 cm2), and distances from the field edge (5–40 cm). The effects of the multileaf collimator (MLC) and collimator rotation were also evaluated for a 10 × 10 cm2 field. Using the same phantom geometry, the accuracy of the analytic anisotropic algorithm (AAA) and Acuros dose calculation algorithm was assessed and compared to the measured values.Results:
The PDs for both the 6 flattening filter free (FFF) and 10 FFF photon beams were found to decrease with increasing distance from the radiation field edge and the decreasing field size. The measured PD was observed to be higher for the 6 FFF than for the 10 FFF for all field sizes and depths. The impact of collimator rotation was not found to be clinically significant when used in conjunction with MLCs. AAA and Acuros algorithms both underestimated the PD with average errors of −13.6% and −7.8%, respectively, for all field sizes and depths at distances of 5 and 10 cm from the field edge, but the average error was found to increase to nearly −69% at greater distances.Conclusions:
Given the known inaccuracies of peripheral dose calculations, this comprehensive dataset can be used to estimate the out-of-field dose to regions of interest such as organs at risk, electronic implantable devices, and a fetus. While the impact of collimator rotation was not found to significantly decrease PD when used in conjunction with MLCs, results are expected to be machine model and beam energy dependent. It is not recommended to use a treatment planning system to estimate PD due to the underestimation of the out-of-field dose and the inability to calculate dose at extended distances due to the limits of the dose calculation matrix.
- DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING (IONIZING AND NON-IONIZING)
- Research Articles
Impact of bowtie filter and object position on the two-dimensional noise power spectrum of a clinical MDCT system43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4954848View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Noise characteristics of clinical multidetector CT (MDCT) systems can be quantified by the noise power spectrum (NPS). Although the NPS of CT has been extensively studied in the past few decades, the joint impact of the bowtie filter and object position on the NPS has not been systematically investigated. This work studies the interplay of these two factors on the two dimensional (2D) local NPS of a clinical CT system that uses the filtered backprojection algorithm for image reconstruction.Methods:
A generalized NPS model was developed to account for the impact of the bowtie filter and image object location in the scan field-of-view (SFOV). For a given bowtie filter, image object, and its location in the SFOV, the shape and rotational symmetries of the 2D local NPS were directly computed from the NPS model without going through the image reconstruction process. The obtained NPS was then compared with the measured NPSs from the reconstructed noise-only CT images in both numerical phantom simulation studies and experimental phantom studies using a clinical MDCT scanner. The shape and the associated symmetry of the 2D NPS were classified by borrowing the well-known atomic spectral symbols s, p, and d, which correspond to circular, dumbbell, and cloverleaf symmetries, respectively, of the wave function of electrons in an atom. Finally, simulated bar patterns were embedded into experimentally acquired noise backgrounds to demonstrate the impact of different NPS symmetries on the visual perception of the object.Results:
(1) For a central region in a centered cylindrical object, an s-wave symmetry was always present in the NPS, no matter whether the bowtie filter was present or not. In contrast, for a peripheral region in a centered object, the symmetry of its NPS was highly dependent on the bowtie filter, and both p-wave symmetry and d-wave symmetry were observed in the NPS. (2) For a centered region-ofinterest (ROI) in an off-centered object, the symmetry of its NPS was found to be different from that of a peripheral ROI in the centered object, even when the physical positions of the two ROIs relative to the isocenter were the same. (3) The potential clinical impact of the highly anisotropic NPS, caused by the interplay of the bowtie filter and position of the image object, was highlighted in images of specific bar patterns oriented at different angles. The visual perception of the bar patterns was found to be strongly dependent on their orientation.Conclusions:
The NPS of CT depends strongly on the bowtie filter and object position. Even if the location of the ROI with respect to the isocenter is fixed, there can be different symmetries in the NPS, which depend on the object position and the size of the bowtie filter. For an isolated off-centered object, the NPS of its CT images cannot be represented by the NPS measured from a centered object.
43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4954846View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
This paper presents an overview of multisource inverse-geometry computed tomography (IGCT) as well as the development of a gantry-based research prototype system. The development of the distributed x-ray source is covered in a companion paper [V. B. Neculaes et al., “Multisource inverse-geometry CT. Part II. X-ray source design and prototype,” Med. Phys. 43, 4617–4627 (2016)]. While progress updates of this development have been presented at conferences and in journal papers, this paper is the first comprehensive overview of the multisource inverse-geometry CT concept and prototype. The authors also provide a review of all previous IGCT related publications.Methods:
The authors designed and implemented a gantry-based 32-source IGCT scanner with 22 cm field-of-view, 16 cm z-coverage, 1 s rotation time, 1.09 × 1.024 mm detector cell size, as low as 0.4 × 0.8 mm focal spot size and 80–140 kVp x-ray source voltage. The system is built using commercially available CT components and a custom made distributed x-ray source. The authors developed dedicated controls, calibrations, and reconstruction algorithms and evaluated the system performance using phantoms and small animals.Results:
The authors performed IGCT system experiments and demonstrated tube current up to 125 mA with up to 32 focal spots. The authors measured a spatial resolution of 13 lp/cm at 5% cutoff. The scatter-to-primary ratio is estimated 62% for a 32 cm water phantom at 140 kVp. The authors scanned several phantoms and small animals. The initial images have relatively high noise due to the low x-ray flux levels but minimal artifacts.Conclusions:
IGCT has unique benefits in terms of dose-efficiency and cone-beam artifacts, but comes with challenges in terms of scattered radiation and x-ray flux limits. To the authors’ knowledge, their prototype is the first gantry-based IGCT scanner. The authors summarized the design and implementation of the scanner and the authors presented results with phantoms and small animals.
43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4954847View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
This paper summarizes the development of a high-power distributed x-ray source, or “multisource,” designed for inverse-geometry computed tomography (CT) applications [see B. De Man et al., “Multisource inverse-geometry CT. Part I. System concept and development,” Med. Phys. 43, 4607–4616 (2016)]. The paper presents the evolution of the source architecture, component design (anode, emitter, beam optics, control electronics, high voltage insulator), and experimental validation.Methods:
Dispenser cathode emitters were chosen as electron sources. A modular design was adopted, with eight electron emitters (two rows of four emitters) per module, wherein tungsten targets were brazed onto copper anode blocks—one anode block per module. A specialized ceramic connector provided high voltage standoff capability and cooling oil flow to the anode. A matrix topology and low-noise electronic controls provided switching of the emitters.Results:
Four modules (32 x-ray sources in two rows of 16) have been successfully integrated into a single vacuum vessel and operated on an inverse-geometry computed tomography system. Dispenser cathodes provided high beam current (>1000 mA) in pulse mode, and the electrostatic lenses focused the current beam to a small optical focal spot size (0.5 × 1.4 mm). Controlled emitter grid voltage allowed the beam current to be varied for each source, providing the ability to modulate beam current across the fan of the x-ray beam, denoted as a virtual bowtie filter. The custom designed controls achieved x-ray source switching in <1 μs. The cathode-grounded source was operated successfully up to 120 kV.Conclusions:
A high-power, distributed x-ray source for inverse-geometry CT applications was successfully designed, fabricated, and operated. Future embodiments may increase the number of spots and utilize fast read out detectors to increase the x-ray flux magnitude further, while still staying within the stationary target inherent thermal limitations.
43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4958962View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Noise levels of brain SPECT images are highest in central regions, due to preferential attenuation of photons emitted from deep structures. To address this problem, the authors have designed a novel collimator for brain SPECT imaging that yields greatly increased sensitivity near the center of the brain without loss of resolution. This hybrid collimator consisted of ultrashort cone-beam holes in the central regions and slant-holes in the periphery (USCB). We evaluated this collimator for quantitative brain imaging tasks.Methods:
Owing to the uniqueness of the USCB collimation, the hole pattern required substantial variations in collimator parameters. To utilize the lead-casting technique, the authors designed two supporting plates to position about 37 000 hexagonal, slightly tapered pins. The holes in the supporting plates were modeled to yield the desired focal length, hole length, and septal thickness. To determine the properties of the manufactured collimator and to compute the system matrix, the authors prepared an array of point sources that covered the entire detector area. Each point source contained 32 μCi of Tc-99m at the first scan time. The array was imaged for 5 min at each of the 64 shifted locations to yield a 2-mm sampling distance, and hole parameters were calculated. The sensitivity was also measured using a point source placed along the central ray at several distances from the collimator face. High-count projection data from a five-compartment brain phantom were acquired with the three collimators on a dual-head SPECT/CT system. The authors calculated Cramer-Rao bounds on the precision of estimates of striatal and background activity concentration. In order to assess the new collimation system to detect changes in striatal activity, the authors evaluated the precision of measuring a 5% decrease in right putamen activity. The authors also reconstructed images of projection data obtained by summing data from the individual phantom compartments.Results:
The sensitivity of the novel cone-beam collimator varied with distance from the detector face; it was higher than that of the fan-beam collimator by factors ranging from 2.7 to 162. Examination of the projections of the point sources revealed that only a few holes were distorted or partially blocked, indicating that the intensive manual fabrication process was very successful. Better reconstructed phantom images were obtained from the USCB+FAN collimator pair than from either LEHR or FAN collimation. For the left caudate, located near the center of the brain, the detected counts were 9.8 (8.3) times higher for UCSB compared with LEHR (FAN), averaged over 60 views. The task-specific SNR for detecting a 5% decrease in putamen uptake was 7.4 for USCB and 3.2 for LEHR.Conclusions:
The authors have designed and manufactured a novel collimator for brain SPECT imaging. The sensitivity is much higher than that of a fan-beam collimator. Because of differences between the manufactured collimator and its design, reconstruction of the data requires a measured system matrix. The authors have demonstrated the potential of USCB collimation for improved precision in estimating striatal uptake. The novel collimator may be useful for early detection of Parkinson’s disease, and for monitoring therapy response and disease progression.
43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4958680View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Scatter reduces the image quality in computed tomography (CT), but scatter correction remains a challenge. A previously proposed primary modulation method simultaneously obtains the primary and scatter in a single scan. However, separating the scatter and primary in primary modulation is challenging because it is an underdetermined problem. In this study, an optimization-based scatter estimation (OSE) algorithm is proposed to estimate and correct scatter.Methods:
In the concept of primary modulation, the primary is modulated, but the scatter remains smooth by inserting a modulator between the x-ray source and the object. In the proposed algorithm, an objective function is designed for separating the scatter and primary. Prior knowledge is incorporated in the optimization-based framework to improve the accuracy of the estimation: (1) the primary is always positive; (2) the primary is locally smooth and the scatter is smooth; (3) the location of penumbra can be determined; and (4) the scatter-contaminated data provide knowledge about which part is smooth.Results:
The simulation study shows that the edge-preserving weighting in OSE improves the estimation accuracy near the object boundary. Simulation study also demonstrates that OSE outperforms the two existing primary modulation algorithms for most regions of interest in terms of the CT number accuracy and noise. The proposed method was tested on a clinical cone beam CT, demonstrating that OSE corrects the scatter even when the modulator is not accurately registered.Conclusions:
The proposed OSE algorithm improves the robustness and accuracy in scatter estimation and correction. This method is promising for scatter correction of various kinds of x-ray imaging modalities, such as x-ray radiography, cone beam CT, and the fourth-generation CT.
Integrated PET/MR breast cancer imaging: Attenuation correction and implementation of a 16-channel RF coil43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4959546View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
This study aims to develop, implement, and evaluate a 16-channel radiofrequency (RF) coil for integrated positron emission tomography/magnetic resonance (PET/MR) imaging of breast cancer. The RF coil is designed for optimized MR imaging performance and PET transparency and attenuation correction (AC) is applied for accurate PET quantification.Methods:
A 16-channel breast array RF coil was designed for integrated PET/MR hybrid imaging of breast cancer lesions. The RF coil features a lightweight rigid design and is positioned with a spacer at a defined position on the patient table of an integrated PET/MR system. Attenuation correction is performed by generating and applying a dedicated 3D CT-based template attenuation map. Reposition accuracy of the RF coil on the system patient table while using the positioning frame was tested in repeated measurements using MR-visible markers. The MR, PET, and PET/MR imaging performances were systematically evaluated using modular breast phantoms. Attenuation correction of the RF coil was evaluated with difference measurements of the active breast phantoms filled with radiotracer in the PET detector with and without the RF coil in place, serving as a standard of reference measurement. The overall PET/MR imaging performance and PET quantification accuracy of the new 16-channel RF coil and its AC were then evaluated in first clinical examinations on ten patients with local breast cancer.Results:
The RF breast array coil provides excellent signal-to-noise ratio and signal homogeneity across the volume of the breast phantoms in MR imaging and visualizes small structures in the phantoms down to 0.4 mm in plane. Difference measurements with PET revealed a global loss and thus attenuation of counts by 13% (mean value across the whole phantom volume) when the RF coil is placed in the PET detector. Local attenuation ranging from 0% in the middle of the phantoms up to 24% was detected in the peripheral regions of the phantoms at positions closer to attenuating hardware structures of the RF coil. The position accuracy of the RF coil on the patient table when using the positioning frame was determined well below 1 mm for all three spatial dimensions. This ensures perfect position match between the RF coil and its three-dimensional attenuation template during the PET data reconstruction process. When applying the CT-based AC of the RF coil, the global attenuation bias was mostly compensated to ±0.5% across the entire breast imaging volume. The patient study revealed high quality MR, PET, and combined PET/MR imaging of breast cancer. Quantitative activity measurements in all 11 breast cancer lesions of the ten patients resulted in increased mean difference values of SUVmax 11.8% (minimum 3.2%; maximum 23.2%) between nonAC images and images when AC of the RF breast coil was applied. This supports the quantitative results of the phantom study as well as successful attenuation correction of the RF coil.Conclusions:
A 16-channel breast RF coil was designed for optimized MR imaging performance and PET transparency and was successfully integrated with its dedicated attenuation correction template into a whole-body PET/MR system. Systematic PET/MR imaging evaluation with phantoms and an initial study on patients with breast cancer provided excellent MR and PET image quality and accurate PET quantification.
43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4959551View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Compton cameras (CCs) use electronic collimation to reconstruct the images of activity distribution. Although this approach can greatly improve imaging efficiency, due to complex geometry of the CC principle, image reconstruction with the standard iterative algorithms, such as ordered subset expectation maximization (OSEM), can be very time-consuming, even more so if resolution recovery (RR) is implemented. We have previously shown that the origin ensemble (OE) algorithm can be used for the reconstruction of the CC data. Here we propose a method of extending our OE algorithm to include RR.Methods:
To validate the proposed algorithm we used Monte Carlo simulations of a CC composed of multiple layers of pixelated CZT detectors and designed for imaging small animals. A series of CC acquisitions of small hot spheres and the Derenzo phantom placed in air were simulated. Images obtained from (a) the exact data, (b) blurred data but reconstructed without resolution recovery, and (c) blurred and reconstructed with resolution recovery were compared. Furthermore, the reconstructed contrast-to-background ratios were investigated using the phantom with nine spheres placed in a hot background.Results:
Our simulations demonstrate that the proposed method allows for the recovery of the resolution loss that is due to imperfect accuracy of event detection. Additionally, tests of camera sensitivity corresponding to different detector configurations demonstrate that the proposed CC design has sensitivity comparable to PET. When the same number of events were considered, the computation time per iteration increased only by a factor of 2 when OE reconstruction with the resolution recovery correction was performed relative to the original OE algorithm. We estimate that the addition of resolution recovery to the OSEM would increase reconstruction times by 2–3 orders of magnitude per iteration.Conclusions:
The results of our tests demonstrate the improvement of image resolution provided by the OE reconstructions with resolution recovery. The quality of images and their contrast are similar to those obtained from the OE reconstructions from scans simulated with perfect energy and spatial resolutions.
43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4959554View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT) enables volumetric scans in a single breath hold and is clinically useful for hepatic imaging. For simple tasks, conventional single energy (SE) computed tomography (CT) images acquired at the optimal tube potential are known to have better quality than dual energy (DE) blended images. However, liver imaging is complex and often requires imaging of both structures containing iodinated contrast media, where atomic number differences are the primary contrast mechanism, and other structures, where density differences are the primary contrast mechanism. Hence it is conceivable that the broad spectrum used in a dual energy acquisition may be an advantage. In this work we are interested in comparing these two imaging strategies at equal-dose and more complex settings.Methods:
We developed numerical anthropomorphic phantoms to mimic realistic clinical CT scans for medium size and large size patients. MDCT images based on the defined phantoms were simulated using various SE and DE protocols at pre- and post-contrast stages. For SE CT, images from 60 kVp through 140 with 10 kVp steps were considered; for DE CT, both 80/140 and 100/140 kVp scans were simulated and linearly blended at the optimal weights. To make a fair comparison, the mAs of each scan was adjusted to match the reference radiation dose (120 kVp, 200 mAs for medium size patients and 140 kVp, 400 mAs for large size patients). Contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) of liver against other soft tissues was used to evaluate and compare the SE and DE protocols, and multiple pre- and post-contrasted liver-tissue pairs were used to define a composite CNR. To help validate the simulation results, we conducted a small clinical study. Eighty-five 120 kVp images and 81 blended 80/140 kVp images were collected and compared through both quantitative image quality analysis and an observer study.Results:
In the simulation study, we found that the CNR of pre-contrast SE image mostly increased with increasing kVp while for post-contrast imaging 90 kVp or lower yielded higher CNR images, depending on the differential iodine concentration of each tissue. Similar trends were seen in DE blended CNR and those from SE protocols. In the presence of differential iodine concentration (i.e., post-contrast), the CNR curves maximize at lower kVps (80–120), with the peak shifted rightward for larger patients. The combined pre- and post-contrast composite CNR study demonstrated that an optimal SE protocol has better performance than blended DE images, and the optimal tube potential for SE scan is around 90 kVp for a medium size patients and between 90 and 120 kVp for large size patients (although low kVp imaging requires high x-ray tube power to avoid photon starvation). Also, a tin filter added to the high kVp beam is not only beneficial for material decomposition but it improves the CNR of the DE blended images as well. The dose adjusted CNR of the clinical images also showed the same trend and radiologists favored the SE scans over blended DE images.Conclusions:
Our simulation showed that an optimized SE protocol produces up to 5% higher CNR for a range of clinical tasks. The clinical study also suggested 120 kVp SE scans have better image quality than blended DE images. Hence, blended DE images do not have a fundamental CNR advantage over optimized SE images.
- Technical Notes
43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4959539View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The purpose of this work is to improve the repeatability of the measurement of the slice-sensitivity profile (SSP) in reconstructed breast tomosynthesis volumes.Methods:
A grid of aluminum ball-bearings (BBs) within a PMMA phantom was imaged on breast tomosynthesis systems from three different manufacturers. The full-width half-maximum (FWHM) values were measured for the SSPs of the BBs in the reconstructed volumes. The effect of transforming the volumes from a Cartesian coordinate system (CCS) to a cone-beam coordinate system (CBCS) on the variability in the FWHM values was assessed.Results:
Transforming the volumes from a CCS to a CBCS before measuring the SSPs reduced the coefficient of variation (COV) in the measurements of FWHM in repeated measurements by 56% and reduced the dependence of the FWHM values on the location of the BBs within the reconstructed volume by 76%.Conclusions:
Measuring the SSP in the volumes in a CBCS improves the robustness of the measurement.