Optimization of an on-board imaging system for extremely rapid radiation therapy

Erica M. Cherry Kemmerling, Meng Wu, He Yang, Peter G. Maxim, Billy W. Loo, Rebecca Fahrig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: Next-generation extremely rapid radiation therapy systems could mitigate the need for motion management, improve patient comfort during the treatment, and increase patient throughput for cost effectiveness. Such systems require an on-board imaging system that is competitively priced, fast, and of sufficiently high quality to allow good registration between the image taken on the day of treatment and the image taken the day of treatment planning. In this study, three different detectors for a custom on-board CT system were investigated to select the best design for integration with an extremely rapid radiation therapy system. Methods: Three different CT detectors are proposed: low-resolution (all 4×4 mm pixels), mediumresolution (a combination of 4×4 mm pixels and 2×2 mm pixels), and high-resolution (all 1×1 mm pixels). An in-house program was used to generate projection images of a numerical anthropomorphic phantom and to reconstruct the projections into CT datasets, henceforth called realistic images. Scatter was calculated using a separate Monte Carlo simulation, and the model included an antiscatter grid and bowtie filter. Diagnostic-quality images of the phantom were generated to represent the patient scan at the time of treatment planning. Commercial deformable registration software was used to register the diagnostic-quality scan to images produced by the various on-board detector configurations. The deformation fields were compared against a gold standard deformation field generated by registering initial and deformed images of the numerical phantoms that were used to make the diagnostic and treatment-day images. Registrations of on-board imaging system data were judged by the amount their deformation fields differed from the corresponding gold standard deformation fields-the smaller the difference, the better the system. To evaluate the registrations, the pointwise distance between gold standard and realistic registration deformation fields was computed. Results: By most global metrics (e.g., mean, median, and maximum pointwise distance), the highresolution detector had the best performance but the medium-resolution detector was comparable. For all medium- and high-resolution detector registrations, mean error between the realistic and gold standard deformation fields was less than 4 mm. By pointwise metrics (e.g., tracking a small lesion), the high- and medium-resolution detectors performed similarly. For these detectors, the smallest error between the realistic and gold standard registrations was 0.6 mm and the largest error was 3.6 mm. Conclusions: The medium-resolution CT detector was selected as the best for an extremely rapid radiation therapy system. In essentially all test cases, data from this detector produced a significantly better registration than data from the low-resolution detector and a comparable registration to data from the high-resolution detector. The medium-resolution detector provides an appropriate compromise between registration accuracy and system cost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6757-6767
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • CT
  • Monte Carlo
  • on-board imaging
  • radiotherapy
  • registration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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