Real-time 3D internal marker tracking during arc radiotherapy by the use of combined MV-kV imaging
To minimize the adverse dosimetric effect caused by tumor motion, it is desirable to have real-time knowledge of the tumor position throughout the beam delivery process. A promising technique to realize the real-time image guided scheme in external beam radiation therapy is through the combined use of MV and onboard kV beam imaging. The success of this MV-kV triangulation approach for fixed-gantry radiation therapy has been demonstrated. With the increasing acceptance of modern arc radiotherapy in the clinics, a timely and clinically important question is whether the image guidance strategy can be extended to arc therapy to provide the urgently needed real-time tumor motion information. While conceptually feasible, there are a number of theoretical and practical issues specific to the arc delivery that need to be resolved before clinical implementation. The purpose of this work is to establish a robust procedure of system calibration for combined MV and kV imaging for internal marker tracking during arc delivery and to demonstrate the feasibility and accuracy of the technique. A commercially available LINAC equipped with an onboard kV imager and electronic portal imaging device (EPID) was used for the study. A custom built phantom with multiple ball bearings was used to calibrate the stereoscopic MV-kV imaging system to provide the transformation parameters from imaging pixels to 3D world coordinates. The accuracy of the fiducial tracking system was examined using a 4D motion phantom capable of moving in accordance with a pre-programmed trajectory. Overall, spatial accuracy of MV-kV fiducial tracking during the arc delivery process for normal adult breathing amplitude and period was found to be better than 1 mm. For fast motion, the results depended on the imaging frame rates. The RMS error ranged from approximately 0.5 mm for the normal adult breathing pattern to approximately 1.5 mm for more extreme cases with a low imaging frame rate of 3.4 Hz. In general, highly accurate real-time tracking of implanted markers using hybrid MV-kV imaging is achievable and the technique should be useful to improve the beam targeting accuracy of arc therapy.
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