Cone-beam-CT guided radiation therapy: technical implementation.

Radiotherapy and Oncology

PubMedID: 15890424

L├ętourneau D, Wong JW, Oldham M, Gulam M, Watt L, Jaffray DA, Siewerdsen JH, Martinez AA. Cone-beam-CT guided radiation therapy: technical implementation. Radiother Oncol. 2005;75(3):279-86.
X-ray volumetric imaging system (XVI) mounted on a linear accelerator is available for image guidance applications. In preparation for clinical implementation, phantom and patient imaging studies were conducted to determine the irradiation parameters that would trade-off image quality, patient dose and scanning time.

The XVI image quality and imaging dose were benchmarked against those obtained with a helical CT scanner for a head and body phantom. The irradiation parameters were varied including the total imaging dose, number of projections, field of view, reconstruction resolution and use of a scatter rejection grid. We characterized the image quality based on relative contrast, noise, contrast to noise ratio (CNR) and point spread function (PSF). XVI scans of pelvis, head and neck and lung patients were acquired and submitted to a range of observers to identify the favorable reconstruction parameters.

Phantom studies have demonstrated that a scatter rejection grid reduces photon scattering and improves the image uniformity. For the body phantom, the helical CT and the wide field XVI technique produce similar image quality, with surface doses of 0.025 and 0.044 Gy respectively. We have demonstrated that the local tomography technique improves the image contrast and the CNR while reducing the skin dose by 40-50% compared to the wide field technique. Clinical scans of head and neck, lung and prostate patients present good soft tissue contrast and excellent bone definition.

With adjustment of irradiation parameters and an imaging surface dose of less than 0.05 Gy, high quality XVI images can be obtained for a phantom simulating the body thickness. XVI is currently feasible for image-guided treatments of head and neck, torso and pelvic areas using soft tissue and bony structures.