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      Scale invariant feature transform in adaptive radiation therapy: a tool for deformable image registration assessment and re-planning indication.

      Physics in medicine and biology
      Cone-Beam Computed Tomography, Decision Making, Head and Neck Neoplasms, radiography, radiotherapy, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, methods, Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted

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          Abstract

          Adaptive radiation therapy (ART) aims at compensating for anatomic and pathological changes to improve delivery along a treatment fraction sequence. Current ART protocols require time-consuming manual updating of all volumes of interest on the images acquired during treatment. Deformable image registration (DIR) and contour propagation stand as a state of the ART method to automate the process, but the lack of DIR quality control methods hinder an introduction into clinical practice. We investigated the scale invariant feature transform (SIFT) method as a quantitative automated tool (1) for DIR evaluation and (2) for re-planning decision-making in the framework of ART treatments. As a preliminary test, SIFT invariance properties at shape-preserving and deformable transformations were studied on a computational phantom, granting residual matching errors below the voxel dimension. Then a clinical dataset composed of 19 head and neck ART patients was used to quantify the performance in ART treatments. For the goal (1) results demonstrated SIFT potential as an operator-independent DIR quality assessment metric. We measured DIR group systematic residual errors up to 0.66 mm against 1.35 mm provided by rigid registration. The group systematic errors of both bony and all other structures were also analyzed, attesting the presence of anatomical deformations. The correct automated identification of 18 patients who might benefit from ART out of the total 22 cases using SIFT demonstrated its capabilities toward goal (2) achievement.

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