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Respiratory correlated cone beam CT.

Medical physics

Tomography, X-Ray Computed, Algorithms, Fluoroscopy, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Imaging, Three-Dimensional, methods, Lung Neoplasms, pathology, radiography, Models, Theoretical, Motion, Movement, Particle Accelerators, Phantoms, Imaging, Radiographic Image Enhancement, Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted, Radiometry, Radiotherapy, Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted, Respiration, Tomography, Spiral Computed

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      Abstract

      A cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) scanner integrated with a linear accelerator is a powerful tool for image guided radiotherapy. Respiratory motion, however, induces artifacts in CBCT, while the respiratory correlated procedures, developed to reduce motion artifacts in axial and helical CT are not suitable for such CBCT scanners. We have developed an alternative respiratory correlated procedure for CBCT and evaluated its performance. This respiratory correlated CBCT procedure consists of retrospective sorting in projection space, yielding subsets of projections that each corresponds to a certain breathing phase. Subsequently, these subsets are reconstructed into a four-dimensional (4D) CBCT dataset. The breathing signal, required for respiratory correlation, was directly extracted from the 2D projection data, removing the need for an additional respiratory monitor system. Due to the reduced number of projections per phase, the contrast-to-noise ratio in a 4D scan reduced by a factor 2.6-3.7 compared to a 3D scan based on all projections. Projection data of a spherical phantom moving with a 3 and 5 s period with and without simulated breathing irregularities were acquired and reconstructed into 3D and 4D CBCT datasets. The positional deviations of the phantoms center of gravity between 4D CBCT and fluoroscopy were small: 0.13 +/- 0.09 mm for the regular motion and 0.39 +/- 0.24 mm for the irregular motion. Motion artifacts, clearly present in the 3D CBCT datasets, were substantially reduced in the 4D datasets, even in the presence of breathing irregularities, such that the shape of the moving structures could be identified more accurately. Moreover, the 4D CBCT dataset provided information on the 3D trajectory of the moving structures, absent in the 3D data. Considerable breathing irregularities, however, substantially reduces the image quality. Data presented for three different lung cancer patients were in line with the results obtained from the phantom study. In conclusion, we have successfully implemented a respiratory correlated CBCT procedure yielding a 4D dataset. With respiratory correlated CBCT on a linear accelerator, the mean position, trajectory, and shape of a moving tumor can be verified just prior to treatment. Such verification reduces respiration induced geometrical uncertainties, enabling safe delivery of 4D radiotherapy such as gated radiotherapy with small margins.

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      Practical cone-beam algorithm

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        Errors and margins in radiotherapy.

        Clinical radiotherapy procedures aim at high accuracy. However, there are many error sources that act during treatment preparation and execution that limit the accuracy. As a consequence, a safety margin is required to ensure that the planned dose is actually delivered to the target for (almost) all patients. Before treatment planning, a planning computed tomography scan is made. In particular, motion of skin with respect to the internal anatomy limits the reproducibility of this step, introducing a systematic setup error. The second important error source is organ motion. The tumor is imaged in an arbitrary position, leading to a systematic organ motion error. The image may also be distorted because of the interference of the scanning process and organ motion. A further systematic error introduced during treatment planning is caused by the delineation process. During treatment, the most important errors are setup error and organ motion leading to day-to-day variations. There are many ways to define the margins required for these errors. In this article, an overview is given of errors in radiotherapy and margin recipes, based on physical and biological considerations. Respiration motion is treated separately.
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          Precise and real-time measurement of 3D tumor motion in lung due to breathing and heartbeat, measured during radiotherapy.

          In this work, three-dimensional (3D) motion of lung tumors during radiotherapy in real time was investigated. Understanding the behavior of tumor motion in lung tissue to model tumor movement is necessary for accurate (gated or breath-hold) radiotherapy or CT scanning. Twenty patients were included in this study. Before treatment, a 2-mm gold marker was implanted in or near the tumor. A real-time tumor tracking system using two fluoroscopy image processor units was installed in the treatment room. The 3D position of the implanted gold marker was determined by using real-time pattern recognition and a calibrated projection geometry. The linear accelerator was triggered to irradiate the tumor only when the gold marker was located within a certain volume. The system provided the coordinates of the gold marker during beam-on and beam-off time in all directions simultaneously, at a sample rate of 30 images per second. The recorded tumor motion was analyzed in terms of the amplitude and curvature of the tumor motion in three directions, the differences in breathing level during treatment, hysteresis (the difference between the inhalation and exhalation trajectory of the tumor), and the amplitude of tumor motion induced by cardiac motion. The average amplitude of the tumor motion was greatest (12 +/- 2 mm [SD]) in the cranial-caudal direction for tumors situated in the lower lobes and not attached to rigid structures such as the chest wall or vertebrae. For the lateral and anterior-posterior directions, tumor motion was small both for upper- and lower-lobe tumors (2 +/- 1 mm). The time-averaged tumor position was closer to the exhale position, because the tumor spent more time in the exhalation than in the inhalation phase. The tumor motion was modeled as a sinusoidal movement with varying asymmetry. The tumor position in the exhale phase was more stable than the tumor position in the inhale phase during individual treatment fields. However, in many patients, shifts in the exhale tumor position were observed intra- and interfractionally. These shifts are the result of patient relaxation, gravity (posterior direction), setup errors, and/or patient movement.The 3D trajectory of the tumor showed hysteresis for 10 of the 21 tumors, which ranged from 1 to 5 mm. The extent of hysteresis and the amplitude of the tumor motion remained fairly constant during the entire treatment. Changes in shape of the trajectory of the tumor were observed between subsequent treatment days for only one patient. Fourier analysis revealed that for 7 of the 21 tumors, a measurable motion in the range 1-4 mm was caused by the cardiac beat. These tumors were located near the heart or attached to the aortic arch. The motion due to the heartbeat was greatest in the lateral direction. Tumor motion due to hysteresis and heartbeat can lower treatment efficiency in real-time tumor tracking-gated treatments or lead to a geographic miss in conventional or active breathing controlled treatments. The real-time tumor tracking system measured the tumor position in all three directions simultaneously, at a sampling rate that enabled detection of tumor motion due to heartbeat as well as hysteresis. Tumor motion and hysteresis could be modeled with an asymmetric function with varying asymmetry. Tumor motion due to breathing was greatest in the cranial-caudal direction for lower-lobe unfixed tumors.
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            15895601

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