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Phys Med Biol. 2008 Feb 7;53(3):719-36. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/53/3/013. Epub 2008 Jan 11.

Assessment of dose reconstruction errors in image-guided radiation therapy.

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Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298, USA.


Dose reconstruction can be used to improve the accuracy of dose evaluation throughout a treatment course. Its working mechanism is based on deformable image registration (DIR). The purpose of this paper is to develop a method to estimate the dose reconstruction error associated with the inaccuracy of DIR algorithms. To reach this goal, we quantified dominant errors in DIR in terms of unbalanced energy (UE), which were compared with the standard displacement error (SDE). Their high similarity, characterized by Pearson correlation coefficient, was verified through nine 'demons' registration instances performed within simulated reference frames. Based on the similarity, the dose-warping discrepancy at each voxel was defined as a line integral of the dose gradient within the voxel's neighborhood whose boundary was determined by the voxel's UE value. From this definition, the dose reconstruction error was then calculated at each voxel on nine prostate computed tomography images, obtained from a patient treatment course. The average of the Pearson correlation coefficients between UE and SDE over the simulated registration instances was above 70%. The mean value of the dose reconstruction errors in a target volume was calculated for each of nine treatment fractions. The averaged percentage of these mean values with respect to the prescribed dose on the target volume was 1.68%. These results are consistent with contour-based mean dose error evaluations. This paper has established a relation between a registration error and its induced dose reconstruction discrepancy. It allows an automatic validation method to be developed to estimate the dose accumulation error at each voxel in clinical settings.

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