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J Radiat Res. 2013 Jan;54(1):146-51. doi: 10.1093/jrr/rrs055. Epub 2012 Jul 22.

Simulation approach for the evaluation of tracking accuracy in radiotherapy: a preliminary study.

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Department of Radiological Technology, School of Health Sciences, College of Medical, Pharmaceutical and Health Sciences, Kanazawa University, 5-11-80 Kodatsuno, Kanazawa, 920-0942, Japan.


Real-time tumor tracking in external radiotherapy can be achieved by diagnostic (kV) X-ray imaging with a dynamic flat-panel detector (FPD). It is important to keep the patient dose as low as possible while maintaining tracking accuracy. A simulation approach would be helpful to optimize the imaging conditions. This study was performed to develop a computer simulation platform based on a noise property of the imaging system for the evaluation of tracking accuracy at any noise level. Flat-field images were obtained using a direct-type dynamic FPD, and noise power spectrum (NPS) analysis was performed. The relationship between incident quantum number and pixel value was addressed, and a conversion function was created. The pixel values were converted into a map of quantum number using the conversion function, and the map was then input into the random number generator to simulate image noise. Simulation images were provided at different noise levels by changing the incident quantum numbers. Subsequently, an implanted marker was tracked automatically and the maximum tracking errors were calculated at different noise levels. The results indicated that the maximum tracking error increased with decreasing incident quantum number in flat-field images with an implanted marker. In addition, the range of errors increased with decreasing incident quantum number. The present method could be used to determine the relationship between image noise and tracking accuracy. The results indicated that the simulation approach would aid in determining exposure dose conditions according to the necessary tracking accuracy.

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