High resolution MR based polymer dosimetry versus film densitometry: a systematic study based on the modulation transfer function approach.
ABSTRACT Precise methods of modem radiation therapy such as intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), brachytherapy (BT) and high LET irradiation allow for high dose localization in volumes of a few mm3. However, most dosimetry methods-ionization chambers, TLD arrangements or silicon detectors, for example-are not capable of detecting sub-mm dose variations or do not allow for simple dose imaging. Magnetic resonance based polymer dosimetry (MRPD) appears to be well suited to three-dimensional high resolution relative dosimetry but the spatial resolution based on a systematic modulation transfer function (MTF) approach has not yet been investigated. We offer a theoretical construct for addressing the spatial resolution in different dose imaging systems, i.e. the dose modulation transfer function (DMTF) approach, an experimental realization of this concept with a phantom and quantitative comparisons between two dosimetric systems: polymer gel and film dosimetry. Polymer gel samples were irradiated by Co-60 photons through an absorber grid which is characterized by periodic structures of different spatial period (a), the smallest one at width of a/2 = 280 microm. The modulation in dose under the grid is visualized via calibrated, high resolution, parameter-selective (T2) and dose images based on multi-echo MR imaging. The DMTF is obtained from the modulation depth of the spin-spin relaxation time (T2) after calibration. Voxel sizes below 0.04 mm3 could be achieved, which are significantly smaller than those reported in MR based dose imaging on polymer gels elsewhere, using a powerful gradient system and a highly sensitive small birdcage resonator on a whole-body 3T MR scanner. Dose modulations at 22% of maximum dose amplitude could be observed at about 2 line pairs per mm. The polymer DMTF results are compared to those of a typical clinical film-scanner system. This study demonstrates that MR based gel dosimetry at 200 microm pixel resolution might even be superior, with reference to relative spatial resolution, to the results of a standard film-scanner system offering a nominal scan resolution of 200 microm.