Assessment of image quality and dose calculation accuracy on kV CBCT, MV CBCT, and MV CT images for urgent palliative radiotherapy treatments

Mareike Held, Florian Cremers, Penny K. Sneed, Steve Braunstein, Shannon E. Fogh, Jean Nakamura, Igor Barani, Angelica Perez-Andujar, Jean Pouliot, Olivier Morin*

*Corresponding author for this work
    15 Citations (Scopus)


    A clinical workflow was developed for urgent palliative radiotherapy treatments that integrates patient simulation, planning, quality assurance, and treatment in one 30-minute session. This has been successfully tested and implemented clinically on a linac with MV CBCT capabilities. To make this approach available to all clinics equipped with common imaging systems, dose calculation accuracy based on treatment sites was assessed for other imaging units. We evaluated the feasibility of palliative treatment planning using on-board imaging with respect to image quality and technical challenges. The purpose was to test multiple systems using their commercial setup, disregarding any additional in-house development. kV CT, kV CBCT, MV CBCT, and MV CT images of water and anthropomorphic phantoms were acquired on five different imaging units (Philips MX8000 CT Scanner, and Varian TrueBeam, Elekta VersaHD, Siemens Artiste, and Accuray Tomotherapy linacs). Image quality (noise, contrast, uniformity, spatial resolution) was evaluated and compared across all machines. Using individual image value to density calibrations, dose calculation accuracies for simple treatment plans were assessed for the same phantom images. Finally, image artifacts on clinical patient images were evaluated and compared among the machines. Image contrast to visualize bony anatomy was sufficient on all machines. Despite a high noise level and low contrast, MV CT images provided the most accurate treatment plans relative to kV CT-based planning. Spatial resolution was poorest for MV CBCT, but did not limit the visualization of small anatomical structures. A comparison of treatment plans showed that monitor units calculated based on a prescription point were within 5% difference relative to kV CT-based plans for all machines and all studied treatment sites (brain, neck, and pelvis). Local dose differences > 5% were found near the phantom edges. The gamma index for 3%/3 mm criteria was ≥ 95% in most cases. Best dose calculation results were obtained when the treatment isocenter was near the image isocenter for all machines. A large field of view and immediate image export to the treatment planning system were essential for a smooth workflow and were not provided on all devices. Based on this phantom study, image quality of the studied kV CBCT, MV CBCT, and MV CT on-board imaging devices was sufficient for treatment planning in all tested cases. Treatment plans provided dose calculation accuracies within an acceptable range for simple, urgently planned palliative treatments. However, dose calculation accuracy was compromised towards the edges of an image. Feasibility for clinical implementation should be assessed separately and may be complicated by machine specific features. Image artifacts in patient images and the effect on dose calculation accuracy should be assessed in a separate, machine-specific study.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)279-290
    Number of pages12
    Publication statusPublished - 08.03.2016


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