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Med Dosim. 2006 Spring;31(1):62-70.

Linac-integrated kV-cone beam CT: technical features and first applications.

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Department of Medical Physics in Radiation Therapy, DKFZ Heidelberg, Germany.


One of the most prominent imaging techniques in image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) is the acquisition of cone beam computed tomographies (CBCTs) at the linac with the patient in treatment position. CBCTs provide accurate 3-dimensional (3D) knowledge about the patient's anatomy for every treatment fraction and are therefore well suited for all adaptive corrections of errors related to interfractional uncertainties of the treatment process. In this paper, we first describe the technical development and implementation of this new imaging technique at our linac, i.e., the hardware components and their operating parameters are discussed in detail for a standard image acquisition of CBCTs. Then, an extension of this approach for the acquisition of complete images for extended field of views--the "shifted detector" technique--is presented followed by a first investigation of how CBCTs can be reliably used for adaptive dose calculations. Finally, a first clinical application, the process of automatic patient positioning based on CBCT images, is discussed. From our investigations, we conclude that the technical development of linac-integrated CBCTs bears an enormous potential for the correction of interfractional treatment errors. However, image quality and reconstruction speed of the images leave room for improvement. The development of clinical strategies for the optimal application of this new image modality in a clinical environment is one the major tasks for the future.

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