Volume 42, Issue 1, January 2015
Index of content:
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4895979View Description Hide Description
- MEDICAL PHYSICS LETTER
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4901255View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To characterize the performance of a novel radiation therapy monitoring technique that utilizes a flexible scintillating film, common optical detectors, and image processing algorithms for real-time beam visualization (RT-BV).Methods:
Scintillating films were formed by mixing Gd2O2S:Tb (GOS) with silicone and casting the mixture at room temperature. The films were placed in the path of therapeutic beams generated by medical linear accelerators (LINAC). The emitted light was subsequently captured using a CMOS digital camera. Image processing algorithms were used to extract the intensity, shape, and location of the radiation field at various beam energies, dose rates, and collimator locations. The measurement results were compared with known collimator settings to validate the performance of the imaging system.Results:
The RT-BV system achieved a sufficient contrast-to-noise ratio to enable real-time monitoring of the LINAC beam at 20 fps with normal ambient lighting in the LINAC room. The RT-BV system successfully identified collimator movements with sub-millimeter resolution.Conclusions:
The RT-BV system is capable of localizing radiation therapy beams with sub-millimeter precision and tracking beam movement at video-rate exposure.
- RADIATION THERAPY PHYSICS
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4894702View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The purpose of this work was to describe a versatile algorithm for deformable image registration with applications in radiotherapy and to validate it on thoracic 4DCT data as well as CT/cone beam CT (CBCT) data.Methods:
ANAtomically CONstrained Deformation Algorithm (ANACONDA) combines image information (i.e., intensities) with anatomical information as provided by contoured image sets. The registration problem is formulated as a nonlinear optimization problem and solved with an in-house developed solver, tailored to this problem. The objective function, which is minimized during optimization, is a linear combination of four nonlinear terms: 1. image similarity term; 2. grid regularization term, which aims at keeping the deformed image grid smooth and invertible; 3. a shape based regularization term which works to keep the deformation anatomically reasonable when regions of interest are present in the reference image; and 4. a penalty term which is added to the optimization problem when controlling structures are used, aimed at deforming the selected structure in the reference image to the corresponding structure in the target image.Results:
To validate ANACONDA, the authors have used 16 publically available thoracic 4DCT data sets for which target registration errors from several algorithms have been reported in the literature. On average for the 16 data sets, the target registration error is 1.17 ± 0.87 mm, Dice similarity coefficient is 0.98 for the two lungs, and image similarity, measured by the correlation coefficient, is 0.95. The authors have also validated ANACONDA using two pelvic cases and one head and neck case with planning CT and daily acquired CBCT. Each image has been contoured by a physician (radiation oncologist) or experienced radiation therapist. The results are an improvement with respect to rigid registration. However, for the head and neck case, the sample set is too small to show statistical significance.Conclusions:
ANACONDA performs well in comparison with other algorithms. By including CT/CBCT data in the validation, the various aspects of the algorithm such as its ability to handle different modalities, large deformations, and air pockets are shown.
Assessment of uncertainties in radiation-induced cancer risk predictions at clinically relevant doses42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4903272View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Theoretical dose–response models offer the possibility to assess second cancer induction risks after external beam therapy. The parameters used in these models are determined with limited data from epidemiological studies. Risk estimations are thus associated with considerable uncertainties. This study aims at illustrating uncertainties when predicting the risk for organ-specific second cancers in the primary radiation field illustrated by choosing selected treatment plans for brain cancer patients.Methods:
A widely used risk model was considered in this study. The uncertainties of the model parameters were estimated with reported data of second cancer incidences for various organs. Standard error propagation was then subsequently applied to assess the uncertainty in the risk model. Next, second cancer risks of five pediatric patients treated for cancer in the head and neck regions were calculated. For each case, treatment plans for proton and photon therapy were designed to estimate the uncertainties (a) in the lifetime attributable risk (LAR) for a given treatment modality and (b) when comparing risks of two different treatment modalities.Results:
Uncertainties in excess of 100% of the risk were found for almost all organs considered. When applied to treatment plans, the calculated LAR values have uncertainties of the same magnitude. A comparison between cancer risks of different treatment modalities, however, does allow statistically significant conclusions. In the studied cases, the patient averaged LAR ratio of proton and photon treatments was 0.35, 0.56, and 0.59 for brain carcinoma, brain sarcoma, and bone sarcoma, respectively. Their corresponding uncertainties were estimated to be potentially below 5%, depending on uncertainties in dosimetry.Conclusions:
The uncertainty in the dose–response curve in cancer risk models makes it currently impractical to predict the risk for an individual external beam treatment. On the other hand, the ratio of absolute risks between two modalities is less sensitive to the uncertainties in the risk model and can provide statistically significant estimates.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4903298View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
In radiotherapy, it is important to predict the response of tumors to irradiation prior to the treatment. This is especially important for hypoxic tumors, which are known to be highly radioresistant. Mathematical modeling based on the dose distribution, biological parameters, and medical images may help to improve this prediction and to optimize the treatment plan.Methods:
A voxel-based multiscale tumor response model for simulating the radiation response of hypoxic tumors was developed. It considers viable and dead tumor cells, capillary and normal cells, as well as the most relevant biological processes such as (i) proliferation of tumor cells, (ii) hypoxia-induced angiogenesis, (iii) spatial exchange of cells leading to tumor growth, (iv) oxygen-dependent cell survival after irradiation, (v) resorption of dead cells, and (vi) spatial exchange of cells leading to tumor shrinkage. Oxygenation is described on a microscopic scale using a previously published tumor oxygenation model, which calculates the oxygen distribution for each voxel using the vascular fraction as the most important input parameter. To demonstrate the capabilities of the model, the dependence of the oxygen distribution on tumor growth and radiation-induced shrinkage is investigated. In addition, the impact of three different reoxygenation processes is compared and tumor control probability (TCP) curves for a squamous cells carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSSC) are simulated under normoxic and hypoxic conditions.Results:
The model describes the spatiotemporal behavior of the tumor on three different scales: (i) on the macroscopic scale, it describes tumor growth and shrinkage during radiation treatment, (ii) on a mesoscopic scale, it provides the cell density and vascular fraction for each voxel, and (iii) on the microscopic scale, the oxygen distribution may be obtained in terms of oxygen histograms. With increasing tumor size, the simulated tumors develop a hypoxic core. Within the model, tumor shrinkage was found to be significantly more important for reoxygenation than angiogenesis or decreased oxygen consumption due to an increased fraction of dead cells. In the studied HNSSC-case, the TCD50 values (dose at 50% TCP) decreased from 71.0 Gy under hypoxic to 53.6 Gy under the oxic condition.Conclusions:
The results obtained with the developed multiscale model are in accordance with expectations based on radiobiological principles and clinical experience. As the model is voxel-based, radiological imaging methods may help to provide the required 3D-characterization of the tumor prior to irradiation. For clinical application, the model has to be further validated with experimental and clinical data. If this is achieved, the model may be used to optimize fractionation schedules and dose distributions for the treatment of hypoxic tumors.
- RADIATION MEASUREMENT PHYSICS
Efficient scatter distribution estimation and correction in CBCT using concurrent Monte Carlo fitting42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4903260View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
X-ray scatter is a significant impediment to image quality improvements in cone-beam CT (CBCT). The authors present and demonstrate a novel scatter correction algorithm using a scatter estimation method that simultaneously combines multiple Monte Carlo (MC) CBCT simulations through the use of a concurrently evaluated fitting function, referred to as concurrent MC fitting (CMCF).Methods:
The CMCF method uses concurrently run MC CBCT scatter projection simulations that are a subset of the projection angles used in the projection set, P, to be corrected. The scattered photons reaching the detector in each MC simulation are simultaneously aggregated by an algorithm which computes the scatter detector response, S MC . S MC is fit to a function, SF , and if the fit of SF is within a specified goodness of fit (GOF), the simulations are terminated. The fit, SF , is then used to interpolate the scatter distribution over all pixel locations for every projection angle in the set P. The CMCF algorithm was tested using a frequency limited sum of sines and cosines as the fitting function on both simulated and measured data. The simulated data consisted of an anthropomorphic head and a pelvis phantom created from CT data, simulated with and without the use of a compensator. The measured data were a pelvis scan of a phantom and patient taken on an Elekta Synergy platform. The simulated data were used to evaluate various GOF metrics as well as determine a suitable fitness value. The simulated data were also used to quantitatively evaluate the image quality improvements provided by the CMCF method. A qualitative analysis was performed on the measured data by comparing the CMCF scatter corrected reconstruction to the original uncorrected and corrected by a constant scatter correction reconstruction, as well as a reconstruction created using a set of projections taken with a small cone angle.Results:
Pearson’s correlation, r, proved to be a suitable GOF metric with strong correlation with the actual error of the scatter fit, SF . Fitting the scatter distribution to a limited sum of sine and cosine functions using a low-pass filtered fast Fourier transform provided a computationally efficient and accurate fit. The CMCF algorithm reduces the number of photon histories required by over four orders of magnitude. The simulated experiments showed that using a compensator reduced the computational time by a factor between 1.5 and 1.75. The scatter estimates for the simulated and measured data were computed between 35–93 s and 114–122 s, respectively, using 16 Intel Xeon cores (3.0 GHz). The CMCF scatter correction improved the contrast-to-noise ratio by 10%–50% and reduced the reconstruction error to under 3% for the simulated phantoms.Conclusions:
The novel CMCF algorithm significantly reduces the computation time required to estimate the scatter distribution by reducing the statistical noise in the MC scatter estimate and limiting the number of projection angles that must be simulated. Using the scatter estimate provided by the CMCF algorithm to correct both simulated and real projection data showed improved reconstruction image quality.
- MAGNETIC RESONANCE PHYSICS
Comprehensive MRI simulation methodology using a dedicated MRI scanner in radiation oncology for external beam radiation treatment planning42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4896096View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
The use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in radiation oncology is expanding rapidly, and more clinics are integrating MRI into their radiation therapy workflows. However, radiation therapy presents a new set of challenges and places additional constraints on MRI compared to diagnostic radiology that, if not properly addressed, can undermine the advantages MRI offers for radiation treatment planning (RTP). The authors introduce here strategies to manage several challenges of using MRI for virtual simulation in external beam RTP.Methods:
A total of 810 clinical MRI simulation exams were performed using a dedicated MRI scanner for external beam RTP of brain, breast, cervix, head and neck, liver, pancreas, prostate, and sarcoma cancers. Patients were imaged in treatment position using MRI-optimal immobilization devices. Radiofrequency (RF) coil configurations and scan protocols were optimized based on RTP constraints. Off-resonance and gradient nonlinearity-induced geometric distortions were minimized or corrected prior to using images for RTP. A multidisciplinary MRI simulation guide, along with window width and level presets, was created to standardize use of MR images during RTP. A quality assurance program was implemented to maintain accuracy and repeatability of MRI simulation exams.Results:
The combination of a large bore scanner, high field strength, and circumferentially wrapped, flexible phased array RF receive coils permitted acquisition of thin slice images with high contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) and image intensity uniformity, while simultaneously accommodating patient setup and immobilization devices. Postprocessing corrections and alternative acquisition methods were required to reduce or correct off-resonance and gradient nonlinearity induced geometric distortions.Conclusions:
The methodology described herein contains practical strategies the authors have implemented through lessons learned performing clinical MRI simulation exams. In their experience, these strategies provide robust, high fidelity, high contrast MR images suitable for external beam RTP.
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4903262View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
T 2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is commonly used for anatomical visualization in the pelvis area, such as the prostate, with high soft-tissue contrast. MRI can also provide functional information such as diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) which depicts the molecular diffusion processes in biological tissues. The combination of anatomical and functional imaging techniques is widely used in oncology, e.g., for prostate cancer diagnosis and staging. However, acquisition-specific distortions as well as physiological motion lead to misalignments between T 2 and DWI and consequently to a reduced diagnostic value. Image registration algorithms are commonly employed to correct for such misalignment.Methods:
The authors compare the performance of five state-of-the-art nonrigid image registration techniques for accurate image fusion of DWI with T 2.Results:
Image data of 20 prostate patients with cancerous lesions or cysts were acquired. All registration algorithms were validated using intensity-based as well as landmark-based techniques.Conclusions:
The authors’ results show that the “fast elastic image registration” provides most accurate results with a target registration error of 1.07 ± 0.41 mm at minimum execution times of 11 ± 1 s.
A new quantitative image analysis method for improving breast cancer diagnosis using DCE-MRI examinations42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4903280View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
To investigate the feasibility of applying a new quantitative image analysis method to improve breast cancer diagnosis performance using dynamic contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) by integrating background parenchymal enhancement (BPE) features into the decision making process.Methods:
A dataset involving 115 DCE-MRI examinations was used in this study. Each examination depicts one identified suspicious breast tumor. Among them, 75 cases were verified as malignant and 40 were benign by the biopsy results. A computer-aided detection scheme was applied to segment breast regions and the suspicious tumor depicted on the sequentially scanned MR images of each case. We then computed 18 kinetic features in which 6 were computed from the segmented breast tumor and 12 were BPE features from the background parenchymal regions (excluding the tumor). Support vector machine (SVM) based statistical learning classifiers were trained and optimized using different combinations of features that were computed either from tumor only or from both tumor and BPE. Each SVM was tested using a leave-one-case-out validation method and assessed using an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC).Results:
When using kinetic features computed from tumors only, the maximum AUC is 0.865 ± 0.035. After fusing with the BPE features, AUC increased to 0.919 ± 0.029. At 90% specificity, the tumor classification sensitivity increased by 13.2%.Conclusions:
The proposed quantitative BPE features provide valuable supplementary information to the kinetic features of breast tumors in DCE-MRI. Their addition to computer-aided diagnosis methodologies could improve breast cancer diagnosis based on DCE-MRI examinations.
- NUCLEAR MEDICINE PHYSICS
Impact of CT attenuation correction method on quantitative respiratory-correlated (4D) PET/CT imaging42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4903282View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
Respiratory-correlated positron emission tomography (PET/CT) 4D PET/CT is used to mitigate errors from respiratory motion; however, the optimal CT attenuation correction (CTAC) method for 4D PET/CT is unknown. The authors performed a phantom study to evaluate the quantitative performance of CTAC methods for 4D PET/CT in the ground truth setting.Methods:
A programmable respiratory motion phantom with a custom movable insert designed to emulate a lung lesion and lung tissue was used for this study. The insert was driven by one of five waveforms: two sinusoidal waveforms or three patient-specific respiratory waveforms. 3DPET and 4DPET images of the phantom under motion were acquired and reconstructed with six CTAC methods: helical breath-hold (3DHEL), helical free-breathing (3DMOT), 4D phase-averaged (4DAVG), 4D maximum intensity projection (4DMIP), 4D phase-matched (4DMATCH), and 4D end-exhale (4DEXH) CTAC. Recovery of SUVmax, SUVmean, SUVpeak, and segmented tumor volume was evaluated as RCmax, RCmean, RCpeak, and RCvol, representing percent difference relative to the static ground truth case. Paired Wilcoxon tests and Kruskal–Wallis ANOVA were used to test for significant differences.Results:
For 4DPET imaging, the maximum intensity projection CTAC produced significantly more accurate recovery coefficients than all other CTAC methods (p < 0.0001 over all metrics). Over all motion waveforms, ratios of 4DMIP CTAC recovery were 0.2 ± 5.4, −1.8 ± 6.5, −3.2 ± 5.0, and 3.0 ± 5.9 for RCmax, RCpeak, RCmean, and RCvol. In comparison, recovery coefficients for phase-matched CTAC were −8.4 ± 5.3, −10.5 ± 6.2, −7.6 ± 5.0, and −13.0 ± 7.7 for RCmax, RCpeak, RCmean, and RCvol. When testing differences between phases over all CTAC methods and waveforms, end-exhale phases were significantly more accurate (p = 0.005). However, these differences were driven by the patient-specific respiratory waveforms; when testing patient and sinusoidal waveforms separately, patient waveforms were significantly different between phases (p < 0.0001) while the sinusoidal waveforms were not significantly different (p = 0.98). When considering only the subset of 4DMATCH images that corresponded to the end-exhale image phase, 4DEXH, mean and interquartile range were similar to 4DMATCH but variability was considerably reduced.Conclusions:
Comparative advantages in accuracy and precision of SUV metrics and segmented volumes were demonstrated with the use of the maximum intensity projection and end-exhale CT attenuation correction. While respiratory phase-matched CTAC should in theory provide optimal corrections, image artifacts and differences in implementation of 4DCT and 4DPET sorting can degrade the benefit of this approach. These results may be useful to guide the implementation, analysis, and development of respiratory-correlated thoracic PET/CT in the radiation oncology and diagnostic settings.
- TISSUE MEASUREMENTS
42(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4901521View Description Hide DescriptionPurpose:
A three-dimensional (3D) model of the teeth provides important information for orthodontic diagnosis and treatment planning. Tooth segmentation is an essential step in generating the 3D digital model from computed tomography (CT) images. The aim of this study is to develop an accurate and efficient tooth segmentation method from CT images.Methods:
The 3D dental CT volumetric images are segmented slice by slice in a two-dimensional (2D) transverse plane. The 2D segmentation is composed of a manual initialization step and an automatic slice by slice segmentation step. In the manual initialization step, the user manually picks a starting slice and selects a seed point for each tooth in this slice. In the automatic slice segmentation step, a developed hybrid level set model is applied to segment tooth contours from each slice. Tooth contour propagation strategy is employed to initialize the level set function automatically. Cone beam CT (CBCT) images of two subjects were used to tune the parameters. Images of 16 additional subjects were used to validate the performance of the method. Volume overlap metrics and surface distance metrics were adopted to assess the segmentation accuracy quantitatively. The volume overlap metrics were volume difference (VD, mm3) and Dice similarity coefficient (DSC, %). The surface distance metrics were average symmetric surface distance (ASSD, mm), RMS (root mean square) symmetric surface distance (RMSSSD, mm), and maximum symmetric surface distance (MSSD, mm). Computation time was recorded to assess the efficiency. The performance of the proposed method has been compared with two state-of-the-art methods.Results:
For the tested CBCT images, the VD, DSC, ASSD, RMSSSD, and MSSD for the incisor were 38.16 ± 12.94 mm3, 88.82 ± 2.14%, 0.29 ± 0.03 mm, 0.32 ± 0.08 mm, and 1.25 ± 0.58 mm, respectively; the VD, DSC, ASSD, RMSSSD, and MSSD for the canine were 49.12 ± 9.33 mm3, 91.57 ± 0.82%, 0.27 ± 0.02 mm, 0.28 ± 0.03 mm, and 1.06 ± 0.40 mm, respectively; the VD, DSC, ASSD, RMSSSD, and MSSD for the premolar were 37.95 ± 10.13 mm3, 92.45 ± 2.29%, 0.29 ± 0.06 mm, 0.33 ± 0.10 mm, and 1.28 ± 0.72 mm, respectively; the VD, DSC, ASSD, RMSSSD, and MSSD for the molar were 52.38 ± 17.27 mm3, 94.12 ± 1.38%, 0.30 ± 0.08 mm, 0.35 ± 0.17 mm, and 1.52 ± 0.75 mm, respectively. The computation time of the proposed method for segmenting CBCT images of one subject was 7.25 ± 0.73 min. Compared with two other methods, the proposed method achieves significant improvement in terms of accuracy.Conclusions:
The presented tooth segmentation method can be used to segment tooth contours from CT images accurately and efficiently.