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Phys Med Biol. 2010 Sep 21;55(18):5483-97. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/55/18/014. Epub 2010 Aug 27.

The effect of volume-of-interest misregistration on quantitative planar activity and dose estimation.

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  • 1Division of Medical Imaging Physics, Department of Radiology, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.

Abstract

In targeted radionuclide therapy (TRT), dose estimation is essential for treatment planning and tumor dose response studies. Dose estimates are typically based on a time series of whole-body conjugate view planar or SPECT scans of the patient acquired after administration of a planning dose. Quantifying the activity in the organs from these studies is an essential part of dose estimation. The quantitative planar (QPlanar) processing method involves accurate compensation for image degrading factors and correction for organ and background overlap via the combination of computational models of the image formation process and 3D volumes of interest defining the organs to be quantified. When the organ VOIs are accurately defined, the method intrinsically compensates for attenuation, scatter and partial volume effects, as well as overlap with other organs and the background. However, alignment between the 3D organ volume of interest (VOIs) used in QPlanar processing and the true organ projections in the planar images is required. The aim of this research was to study the effects of VOI misregistration on the accuracy and precision of organ activity estimates obtained using the QPlanar method. In this work, we modeled the degree of residual misregistration that would be expected after an automated registration procedure by randomly misaligning 3D SPECT/CT images, from which the VOI information was derived, and planar images. Mutual information-based image registration was used to align the realistic simulated 3D SPECT images with the 2D planar images. The residual image misregistration was used to simulate realistic levels of misregistration and allow investigation of the effects of misregistration on the accuracy and precision of the QPlanar method. We observed that accurate registration is especially important for small organs or ones with low activity concentrations compared to neighboring organs. In addition, residual misregistration gave rise to a loss of precision in the activity estimates that was on the order of the loss of precision due to Poisson noise in the projection data. These results serve as a lower bound on the effects of misregistration on the accuracy and precision of QPlanar activity estimate and demonstrate that misregistration errors must be taken into account when assessing the overall precision of organ dose estimates.

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