Computed tomography imaging parameters for inhomogeneity correction in radiation treatment planning

Modern treatment planning systems provide accurate dosimetry in heterogeneous media (such as a patient' body) with the help of tissue characterization based on computed tomography (CT) number. However, CT number depends on the type of scanner, tube voltage, field of view (FOV), reconstruction algorithm including artifact reduction and processing filters.

The impact of these parameters on CT to electron density (ED) conversion had been subject of investigation for treatment planning in various clinical situations. This is usually performed with a tissue characterization phantom with various density plugs acquired with different tube voltages (kilovoltage peak), FOV reconstruction and different scanners to generate CT number to ED tables. This article provides an overview of inhomogeneity correction in the context of CT scanning and a new evaluation tool, difference volume dose-volume histogram (DVH), dV-DVH. It has been concluded that scanner and CT parameters are important for tissue characterizations, but changes in ED are minimal and only pronounced for higher density materials. For lungs, changes in CT number are minimal among scanners and CT parameters. Dosimetric differences for lung and prostate cases are usually insignificant (<2%) in three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy and < 5% for intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) with CT parameters. It could be concluded that CT number variability is dependent on acquisition parameters, but its dosimetric impact is pronounced only in high-density media and possibly in IMRT. In view of such small dosimetric changes in low-density medium, the acquisition of additional CT data for financially difficult clinics and countries may not be warranted.

Journal of medical physics / Association of Medical Physicists of India. 0000 [Epub]

Indra J Das, Chee-Wai Cheng, Minsong Cao, Peter A S Johnstone

Department of Radiation Oncology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA., Department of Radiation Oncology, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, OH 44255, USA., Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California- Los Angeles School of Medicine, CA 90095, USA., Department of Radiation Oncology, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.