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Med Phys. 2007 May;34(5):1819-27.

Patient dose considerations for routine megavoltage cone-beam CT imaging.

Author information

  • 1Comprehensive Cancer Center Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA. morin@radonc17.ucsf.edu

Abstract

Megavoltage cone-beam CT (MVCBCT), the recent addition to the family of in-room CT imaging systems for image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), uses a conventional treatment unit equipped with a flat panel detector to obtain a three-dimensional representation of the patient in treatment position. MVCBCT has been used for more than two years in our clinic for anatomy verification and to improve patient alignment prior to dose delivery. The objective of this research is to evaluate the image acquisition dose delivered to patients for MVCBCT and to develop a simple method to reduce the additional dose resulting from routine MVCBCT imaging. Conventional CT scans of phantoms and patients were imported into a commercial treatment planning system (TPS: Phillips, Pinnacle) and an arc treatment mimicking the MVCBCT acquisition process was generated to compute the delivered acquisition dose. To validate the dose obtained from the TPS, a simple water-equivalent cylindrical phantom with spaces for MOSFETs and an ion chamber was used to measure the MVCBCT image acquisition dose. Absolute dose distributions were obtained by simulating MVCBCTs of 9 and 5 monitor units (MU) on pelvis and head and neck patients, respectively. A compensation factor was introduced to generate composite plans of treatment and MVCBCT imaging dose. The article provides a simple equation to compute the compensation factor. The developed imaging compensation method was tested on routinely used clinical plans for prostate and head and neck patients. The quantitative comparison between the calculated dose by the TPS and measurement points on the cylindrical phantom were all within 3%. The dose percentage difference for the ion chamber placed in the center of the phantom was only 0.2%. For a typical MVCBCT, the dose delivered to patients forms a small anterior-posterior gradient ranging from 0.6 to 1.2 cGy per MVCBCT MU. MVCBCT acquisitions in the pelvis and head and neck areas deliver slightly more dose than current portal imaging but render soft tissue information for positioning. Overall, the additional dose from daily 9 MU MVCBCTs of prostate patients is small compared to the treatment dose (<4%). Dose-volume histograms of compensated plans for pelvis and head and neck patients imaged daily with MVCBCT showed no additional dose to the target and small increases at low doses. The results indicate that the dose delivered for MVCBCT imaging can be precisely calculated in the TPS and therefore included in the treatment plan. This allows simple plan compensations, such as slightly reducing the treatment dose, to minimize the total dose received by critical structures from daily positioning with MVCBCT. The proposed compensation factor reduces the number of MU per treatment beam per fraction. Both the number of fractions and the beam arrangement are kept unchanged. Reducing the imaging volume in the cranio-caudal direction can further reduce the dose delivered for MVCBCT. This is a useful feature to eliminate the imaging dose to the eyes or to focus on a specific region of interest for alignment.

PMID:
17555263
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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