Simulation of spatiotemporal CT data sets using a 4D MRI-based lung motion model

Mirko Marx, Jan Ehrhardt*, René Werner, Heinz Peter Schlemmer, Heinz Handels

*Corresponding author for this work
11 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Four-dimensional CT imaging is widely used to account for motion-related effects during radiotherapy planning of lung cancer patients. However, 4D CT often contains motion artifacts, cannot be used to measure motion variability, and leads to higher dose exposure. In this article, we propose using 4D MRI to acquire motion information for the radiotherapy planning process. From the 4D MRI images, we derive a time-continuous model of the average patient-specific respiratory motion, which is then applied to simulate 4D CT data based on a static 3D CT. Methods: The idea of the motion model is to represent the average lung motion over a respiratory cycle by cyclic B-spline curves. The model generation consists of motion field estimation in the 4D MRI data by nonlinear registration, assigning respiratory phases to the motion fields, and applying a B-spline approximation on a voxel-by-voxel basis to describe the average voxel motion over a breathing cycle. To simulate a patient-specific 4D CT based on a static CT of the patient, a multi-modal registration strategy is introduced to transfer the motion model from MRI to the static CT coordinates. Results: Differences between model-based estimated and measured motion vectors are on average 1.39 mm for amplitude-based binning of the 4D MRI data of three patients. In addition, the MRI-to-CT registration strategy is shown to be suitable for the model transformation. Conclusions: The application of our 4D MRI-based motion model for simulating 4D CT images provides advantages over standard 4D CT (less motion artifacts, radiation-free). This makes it interesting for radiotherapy planning.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)401-409
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2014


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