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Phys Med Biol. 2011 Aug 7;56(15):4815-25. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/56/15/012. Epub 2011 Jul 13.

Towards MRI-guided linear accelerator control: gating on an MRI accelerator.

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Department of Radiotherapy, University Medical Center Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht, The Netherlands.


To boost the possibilities of image guidance in radiotherapy by providing images with superior soft-tissue contrast during treatment, we pursue diagnostic quality MRI functionality integrated with a linear accelerator. Large respiration-induced semi-periodic target excursions hamper treatment of cancer of the abdominal organs. Methods to compensate in real time for such motion are gating and tracking. These strategies are most effective in cases where anatomic motion can be visualized directly, which supports the use of an integrated MRI accelerator. We establish here an infrastructure needed to realize gated radiation delivery based on MR feedback and demonstrate its potential as a first step towards more advanced image guidance techniques. The position of a phantom subjected to one-dimensional periodic translation is tracked with the MR scanner. Real-time communication with the MR scanner and control of the radiation beam are established. Based on the time-resolved position of the phantom, gated radiation delivery to the phantom is realized. Dose distributions for dynamic delivery conditions with varying gating windows are recorded on gafchromic film. The similarity between dynamically and statically obtained dose profiles gradually increases as the gating window is decreased. With gating windows of 5 mm, we obtain sharp dose profiles. We validate our gating implementation by comparing measured dose profiles to theoretical profiles calculated using the knowledge of the imposed motion pattern. Excellent correspondence is observed. At the same time, we show that real-time on-line reconstruction of the accumulated dose can be performed using time-resolved target position information. This facilitates plan adaptation not only on a fraction-to-fraction scale but also during one fraction, which is especially valuable in highly accelerated treatment strategies. With the currently established framework and upcoming improvements to our prototype-integrated MRI accelerator, we will realize more intricate MRI-guided linear accelerator control in the near future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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