Date of Graduation

12-2011

Document Type

Dissertation (PhD)

Program Affiliation

Medical Physics

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Thomas Guerrero, MD, PhD

Committee Member

Mary Martel, PhD

Committee Member

Tinsu Pan, PhD

Committee Member

Geoffrey Ibbott, PhD

Committee Member

Ying Yuan, PhD

Abstract

Recent treatment planning studies have demonstrated the use of physiologic images in radiation therapy treatment planning to identify regions for functional avoidance. This image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) strategy may reduce the injury and/or functional loss following thoracic radiotherapy. 4D computed tomography (CT), developed for radiotherapy treatment planning, is a relatively new imaging technique that allows the acquisition of a time-varying sequence of 3D CT images of the patient's lungs through the respiratory cycle. Guerrero et al. developed a method to calculate ventilation imaging from 4D CT, which is potentially better suited and more broadly available for IGRT than the current standard imaging methods. The key to extracting function information from 4D CT is the construction of a volumetric deformation field that accurately tracks the motion of the patient's lungs during the respiratory cycle. The spatial accuracy of the displacement field directly impacts the ventilation images; higher spatial registration accuracy will result in less ventilation image artifacts and physiologic inaccuracies. Presently, a consistent methodology for spatial accuracy evaluation of the DIR transformation is lacking. Evaluation of the 4D CT-derived ventilation images will be performed to assess correlation with global measurements of lung ventilation, as well as regional correlation of the distribution of ventilation with the current clinical standard SPECT. This requires a novel framework for both the detailed assessment of an image registration algorithm's performance characteristics as well as quality assurance for spatial accuracy assessment in routine application. Finally, we hypothesize that hypo-ventilated regions, identified on 4D CT ventilation images, will correlate with hypo-perfused regions in lung cancer patients who have obstructive lesions. A prospective imaging trial of patients with locally advanced non-small-cell lung cancer will allow this hypothesis to be tested. These advances are intended to contribute to the validation and clinical implementation of CT-based ventilation imaging in prospective clinical trials, in which the impact of this imaging method on patient outcomes may be tested.

Keywords

deformable image registration, pulmonary ventilation, pulmonary perfusion, clinical validation, SPECT, computed tomography