Simulation study on potential accuracy gains from dual energy CT tissue segmentation for low-energy brachytherapy Monte Carlo dose calculations.

Department of Radiation Oncology, GROW School for Oncology and Developmental Biology, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht 6201 BN, The Netherlands.
Physics in Medicine and Biology (Impact Factor: 2.7). 09/2011; 56(19):6257-78. DOI: 10.1088/0031-9155/56/19/007
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This work compares Monte Carlo (MC) dose calculations for (125)I and (103)Pd low-dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy sources performed in virtual phantoms containing a series of human soft tissues of interest for brachytherapy. The geometries are segmented (tissue type and density assignment) based on simulated single energy computed tomography (SECT) and dual energy (DECT) images, as well as the all-water TG-43 approach. Accuracy is evaluated by comparison to a reference MC dose calculation performed in the same phantoms, where each voxel's material properties are assigned with exactly known values. The objective is to assess potential dose calculation accuracy gains from DECT. A CT imaging simulation package, ImaSim, is used to generate CT images of calibration and dose calculation phantoms at 80, 120, and 140 kVp. From the high and low energy images electron density ρ(e) and atomic number Z are obtained using a DECT algorithm. Following a correction derived from scans of the calibration phantom, accuracy on Z and ρ(e) of ±1% is obtained for all soft tissues with atomic number Z ∊ [6,8] except lung. GEANT4 MC dose calculations based on DECT segmentation agreed with the reference within ±4% for (103)Pd, the most sensitive source to tissue misassignments. SECT segmentation with three tissue bins as well as the TG-43 approach showed inferior accuracy with errors of up to 20%. Using seven tissue bins in our SECT segmentation brought errors within ±10% for (103)Pd. In general (125)I dose calculations showed higher accuracy than (103)Pd. Simulated image noise was found to decrease DECT accuracy by 3-4%. Our findings suggest that DECT-based segmentation yields improved accuracy when compared to SECT segmentation with seven tissue bins in LDR brachytherapy dose calculation for the specific case of our non-anthropomorphic phantom. The validity of our conclusions for clinical geometry as well as the importance of image noise in the tissue segmentation procedure deserves further experimental investigation.

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