Use of MV and kV imager correlation for maintaining continuous real-time 3D internal marker tracking during beam interruptions
The integration of onboard kV imaging together with a MV electronic portal imaging device (EPID) on linear accelerators (LINAC) can provide an easy to implement real-time 3D organ position monitoring solution for treatment delivery. Currently, real-time MV-kV tracking has only been demonstrated by simultaneous imagining by both MV and kV imaging devices. However, modalities such as step-and-shoot IMRT (SS-IMRT), which inherently contain MV beam interruptions, can lead to loss of target information necessary for 3D localization. Additionally, continuous kV imaging throughout the treatment delivery can lead to high levels of imaging dose to the patient. This work demonstrates for the first time how full 3D target tracking can be maintained even in the presence of such beam interruption, or MV/kV beam interleave, by use of a relatively simple correlation model together with MV-kV tracking. A moving correlation model was constructed using both present and prior positions of the marker in the available MV or kV image to compute the position of the marker on the interrupted imager. A commercially available radiotherapy system, equipped with both MV and kV imaging devices, was used to deliver typical SS-IMRT lung treatment plans to a 4D phantom containing internally embedded metallic markers. To simulate actual lung tumor motion, previous recorded 4D lung patient motion data were used. Lung tumor motion data of five separate patients were inputted into the 4D phantom, and typical SS-IMRT lung plans were delivered to simulate actual clinical deliveries. Application of the correlation model to SS-IMRT lung treatment deliveries was found to be an effective solution for maintaining continuous 3D tracking during 'step' beam interruptions. For deliveries involving five or more gantry angles with 50 or more fields per plan, the positional errors were found to have < or =1 mm root mean squared error (RMSE) in all three spatial directions. In addition to increasing the robustness of MV-kV tracking against beam interruption, it was also found that use of correlation can be an effective way of lowering kV dose to the patient and for increasing kV image quality by reduction of MV scatter interference.
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