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.
- 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.
- QUANTITATIVE IMAGING AND IMAGE PROCESSING
- Research Articles
43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4954844View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Although positron emission tomography (PET) images have shown potential to improve the accuracy of targeting in radiation therapy planning and assessment of response to treatment, the boundaries of tumors are not easily distinguishable from surrounding normal tissue owing to the low spatial resolution and inherent noisy characteristics of PET images. The objective of this study is to develop a generic and robust method for automatic delineation of tumor volumes using an active contour model and to evaluate its performance using phantom and clinical studies.Methods:
MASAC, a method for automatic segmentation using an active contour model, incorporates the histogram fuzzy C-means clustering, and localized and textural information to constrain the active contour to detect boundaries in an accurate and robust manner. Moreover, the lattice Boltzmann method is used as an alternative approach for solving the level set equation to make it faster and suitable for parallel programming. Twenty simulated phantom studies and 16 clinical studies, including six cases of pharyngolaryngeal squamous cell carcinoma and ten cases of nonsmall cell lung cancer, were included to evaluate its performance. Besides, the proposed method was also compared with the contourlet-based active contour algorithm (CAC) and Schaefer’s thresholding method (ST). The relative volume error (RE), Dice similarity coefficient (DSC), and classification error (CE) metrics were used to analyze the results quantitatively.Results:
For the simulated phantom studies (PSs), MASAC and CAC provide similar segmentations of the different lesions, while ST fails to achieve reliable results. For the clinical datasets (2 cases with connected high-uptake regions excluded) (CSs), CAC provides for the lowest mean RE (−8.38% ± 27.49%), while MASAC achieves the best mean DSC (0.71 ± 0.09) and mean CE (53.92% ± 12.65%), respectively. MASAC could reliably quantify different types of lesions assessed in this work with good accuracy, resulting in a mean RE of −13.35% ± 11.87% and −11.15% ± 23.66%, a mean DSC of 0.89 ± 0.05 and 0.71 ± 0.09, and a mean CE of 19.19% ± 7.89% and 53.92% ± 12.65%, for PSs and CSs, respectively.Conclusions:
The authors’ results demonstrate that the developed novel PET segmentation algorithm is applicable to various types of lesions in the authors’ study and is capable of producing accurate and consistent target volume delineations, potentially resulting in reduced intraobserver and interobserver variabilities observed when using manual delineation and improved accuracy in treatment planning and outcome evaluation.
43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4955121View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The image quality of dedicated cone beam breast CT (CBBCT) is limited by substantial scatter contamination, resulting in cupping artifacts and contrast-loss in reconstructed images. Such effects obscure the visibility of soft-tissue lesions and calcifications, which hinders breast cancer detection and diagnosis. In this work, we propose a library-based software approach to suppress scatter on CBBCT images with high efficiency, accuracy, and reliability.Methods:
The authors precompute a scatter library on simplified breast models with different sizes using the geant4-based Monte Carlo (MC) toolkit. The breast is approximated as a semiellipsoid with homogeneous glandular/adipose tissue mixture. For scatter correction on real clinical data, the authors estimate the breast size from a first-pass breast CT reconstruction and then select the corresponding scatter distribution from the library. The selected scatter distribution from simplified breast models is spatially translated to match the projection data from the clinical scan and is subtracted from the measured projection for effective scatter correction. The method performance was evaluated using 15 sets of patient data, with a wide range of breast sizes representing about 95% of general population. Spatial nonuniformity (SNU) and contrast to signal deviation ratio (CDR) were used as metrics for evaluation.Results:
Since the time-consuming MC simulation for library generation is precomputed, the authors’ method efficiently corrects for scatter with minimal processing time. Furthermore, the authors find that a scatter library on a simple breast model with only one input parameter, i.e., the breast diameter, sufficiently guarantees improvements in SNU and CDR. For the 15 clinical datasets, the authors’ method reduces the average SNU from 7.14% to 2.47% in coronal views and from 10.14% to 3.02% in sagittal views. On average, the CDR is improved by a factor of 1.49 in coronal views and 2.12 in sagittal views.Conclusions:
The library-based scatter correction does not require increase in radiation dose or hardware modifications, and it improves over the existing methods on implementation simplicity and computational efficiency. As demonstrated through patient studies, the authors’ approach is effective and stable, and is therefore clinically attractive for CBBCT imaging.
Interobserver variability in identification of breast tumors in MRI and its implications for prognostic biomarkers and radiogenomics43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4955435View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To assess the interobserver variability of readers when outlining breast tumors in MRI, study the reasons behind the variability, and quantify the effect of the variability on algorithmic imaging features extracted from breast MRI.Methods:
Four readers annotated breast tumors from the MRI examinations of 50 patients from one institution using a bounding box to indicate a tumor. All of the annotated tumors were biopsy proven cancers. The similarity of bounding boxes was analyzed using Dice coefficients. An automatic tumor segmentation algorithm was used to segment tumors from the readers’ annotations. The segmented tumors were then compared between readers using Dice coefficients as the similarity metric. Cases showing high interobserver variability (average Dice coefficient <0.8) after segmentation were analyzed by a panel of radiologists to identify the reasons causing the low level of agreement. Furthermore, an imaging feature, quantifying tumor and breast tissue enhancement dynamics, was extracted from each segmented tumor for a patient. Pearson’s correlation coefficients were computed between the features for each pair of readers to assess the effect of the annotation on the feature values. Finally, the authors quantified the extent of variation in feature values caused by each of the individual reasons for low agreement.Results:
The average agreement between readers in terms of the overlap (Dice coefficient) of the bounding box was 0.60. Automatic segmentation of tumor improved the average Dice coefficient for 92% of the cases to the average value of 0.77. The mean agreement between readers expressed by the correlation coefficient for the imaging feature was 0.96.Conclusions:
There is a moderate variability between readers when identifying the rectangular outline of breast tumors on MRI. This variability is alleviated by the automatic segmentation of the tumors. Furthermore, the moderate interobserver variability in terms of the bounding box does not translate into a considerable variability in terms of assessment of enhancement dynamics. The authors propose some additional ways to further reduce the interobserver variability.
Texture analyses of quantitative susceptibility maps to differentiate Alzheimer’s disease from cognitive normal and mild cognitive impairment43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4958959View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Although a number of studies have focused on finding anatomical regions in which iron concentrations are high, no study has been conducted to examine the overall variations in susceptibility maps of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The objective of this study, therefore, was to differentiate AD from cognitive normal (CN) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) using a texture analysis of quantitative susceptibility maps (QSMs).Methods:
The study was approved by the local institutional review board, and informed consent was obtained from all subjects. In each participant group—CN, MCI, and AD—18 elderly subjects were enrolled. A fully first-order flow-compensated 3D gradient-echo sequence was run to obtain axial magnitudes and phase images and to produce QSM data. Sagittal structural 3D T1-weighted (3DT1W) images were also obtained with the magnetization-prepared rapid acquisition of gradient-echo sequence to obtain brain tissue images. The first- and second-order texture parameters of the QSMs and 3DT1W images were obtained to evaluate group differences using a one-way analysis of covariance.Results:
For the first-order QSM analysis, mean, standard deviation, and covariance of signal intensity separated the subject groups (F = 5.191, p = 0.009). For the second-order analysis, angular second moment, contrast, and correlation separated the subject groups (F = 6.896, p = 0.002). Finally, a receiver operating characteristic curve analysis differentiated MCI from CN in white matter on the QSMs (z = 3.092, p = 0.0020).Conclusions:
This was the first study to evaluate the textures of QSM in AD, which overcame the limitations of voxel-based analyses. The QSM texture analysis successfully distinguished both AD and MCI from CN and outperformed the voxel-based analysis using 3DT1-weighed images in separating MCI from CN. The first-order textures were more efficient in differentiating MCI from CN than did the second-order.
- EMERGING IMAGING AND THERAPY MODALITIES
- Research Articles
Robotic path-finding in inverse treatment planning for stereotactic radiosurgery with continuous dose delivery43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4955177View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Continuous dose delivery in radiation therapy treatments has been shown to decrease total treatment time while improving the dose conformity and distribution homogeneity over the conventional step-and-shoot approach. The authors develop an inverse treatment planning method for Gamma Knife® Perfexion™ that continuously delivers dose along a path in the target.Methods:
The authors’ method is comprised of two steps: find a path within the target, then solve a mixed integer optimization model to find the optimal collimator configurations and durations along the selected path. Robotic path-finding techniques, specifically, simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) using an extended Kalman filter, are used to obtain a path that travels sufficiently close to selected isocentre locations. SLAM is novelly extended to explore a 3D, discrete environment, which is the target discretized into voxels. Further novel extensions are incorporated into the steering mechanism to account for target geometry.Results:
The SLAM method was tested on seven clinical cases and compared to clinical, Hamiltonian path continuous delivery, and inverse step-and-shoot treatment plans. The SLAM approach improved dose metrics compared to the clinical plans and Hamiltonian path continuous delivery plans. Beam-on times improved over clinical plans, and had mixed performance compared to Hamiltonian path continuous plans. The SLAM method is also shown to be robust to path selection inaccuracies, isocentre selection, and dose distribution.Conclusions:
The SLAM method for continuous delivery provides decreased total treatment time and increased treatment quality compared to both clinical and inverse step-and-shoot plans, and outperforms existing path methods in treatment quality. It also accounts for uncertainty in treatment planning by accommodating inaccuracies.
43(2016); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4955440View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To quantify the performance of the Clarity ultrasound (US) imaging system (Elekta AB, Stockholm, Sweden) for real-time dynamic multileaf collimator (MLC) tracking.Methods:
The Clarity calibration and quality assurance phantom was mounted on a motion platform moving with a periodic sine wave trajectory. The detected position of a 30 mm hypoechogenic sphere within the phantom was continuously reported via Clarity’s real-time streaming interface to an in-house tracking and delivery software and subsequently used to adapt the MLC aperture. A portal imager measured MV treatment field/MLC apertures and motion platform positions throughout each experiment to independently quantify system latency and geometric error. Based on the measured range of latency values, a prostate stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) delivery was performed with three realistic motion trajectories. The dosimetric impact of system latency on MLC tracking was directly measured using a 3D dosimeter mounted on the motion platform.Results:
For 2D US imaging, the overall system latency, including all delay times from the imaging and delivery chain, ranged from 392 to 424 ms depending on the lateral sector size. For 3D US imaging, the latency ranged from 566 to 1031 ms depending on the elevational sweep. The latency-corrected geometric root-mean squared error was below 0.75 mm (2D US) and below 1.75 mm (3D US). For the prostate SBRT delivery, the impact of a range of system latencies (400–1000 ms) on the MLC tracking performance was minimal in terms of gamma failure rate.Conclusions:
Real-time MLC tracking based on a noninvasive US input is technologically feasible. Current system latencies are higher than those for x-ray imaging systems, but US can provide full volumetric image data and the impact of system latency was measured to be small for a prostate SBRT case when using a US-like motion input.