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Proc SPIE Int Soc Opt Eng. 2017 Feb;10133. pii: 101331I. doi: 10.1117/12.2254571. Epub 2017 Feb 24.

Multi-atlas-based CT synthesis from conventional MRI with patch-based refinement for MRI-based radiotherapy planning.

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Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Accurate CT synthesis, sometimes called electron density estimation, from MRI is crucial for successful MRI-based radiotherapy planning and dose computation. Existing CT synthesis methods are able to synthesize normal tissues but are unable to accurately synthesize abnormal tissues (i.e., tumor), thus providing a suboptimal solution. We propose a multi-atlas-based hybrid synthesis approach that combines multi-atlas registration and patch-based synthesis to accurately synthesize both normal and abnormal tissues. Multi-parametric atlas MR images are registered to the target MR images by multi-channel deformable registration, from which the atlas CT images are deformed and fused by locally-weighted averaging using a structural similarity measure (SSIM). Synthetic MR images are also computed from the registered atlas MRIs by using the same weights used for the CT synthesis; these are compared to the target patient MRIs allowing for the assessment of the CT synthesis fidelity. Poor synthesis regions are automatically detected based on the fidelity measure and refined by a patch-based synthesis. The proposed approach was tested on brain cancer patient data, and showed a noticeable improvement for the tumor region.


CT synthesis; MRI-based radiotherapy planning; multi-atlas registration; multi-channel registration; patch-based synthesis

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