An Investigation of Methods for CT Synthesis in MR-only Radiotherapy

Publication: ResearchPh.D. thesis – Annual report year: 2017

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In recent years, the interest in using magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in radiotherapy (RT) has increased. This is because MR has a superior soft tissue contrast compared to computed tomography (CT), which makes it a better modality for delineating the target volume (tumor) and possible organs at risk (OARs). In an MR/CT work-flow, independent MR and CT scans are acquired. The target and possible OARs are delineated on the MR and then transferred to CT by aligning the data using a registration. This introduces the risk of systematic registration errors especially in non-rigid body structures, the consequence being a systematic miss of target or increased dose to healthy tissue.

Radiotherapy based on MR as the only modality removes this uncertainty and simplifies the clinical work-flow. However, the information on electron density which is usually contained in the CT must now be derived from the MR. A way to achieve this is to computationally estimate a so-called synthetic CT (sCT) from the MR data, which can then act as a substitute for the CT. This is a challenging task, since no unique relationship between MR and electron density exists.

The goal of this thesis is to develop and investigate the right combination of MR acquisition protocols and computational models for accurate MR-based CT synthesis for use in RT. We investigate different categories of methods for CT synthesis and validate them using clinically relevant quality measures. Specifically, we implement a patch-based multi-atlas method in the brain, which compares favorably to state-of-the-art methods. In our next effort, we substantially improve the speed of the method and apply it in the pelvis, again with promising results. Our final contribution is a voxel-based method, which is developed to be registration-free and broadly applicable. In initial results, the performance of this method is close to the patch-based.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKgs. Lyngby
PublisherTechnical University of Denmark (DTU)
Number of pages72
StatePublished - 2017
SeriesDTU Compute PHD-2016
Number428
ISSN0909-3192
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