Date of Graduation

5-2010

Document Type

Dissertation (PhD)

Program Affiliation

Medical Physics

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Tinsu Pan, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Osama Mawlawi, Ph.D.

Committee Member

George Starkschall, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sastry Vedam, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Valen Johnson, Ph.D.

Abstract

Purpose: Respiratory motion causes substantial uncertainty in radiotherapy treatment planning. Four-dimensional computed tomography (4D-CT) is a useful tool to image tumor motion during normal respiration. Treatment margins can be reduced by targeting the motion path of the tumor. The expense and complexity of 4D-CT, however, may be cost-prohibitive at some facilities. We developed an image processing technique to produce images from cine CT that contain significant motion information without 4D-CT. The purpose of this work was to compare cine CT and 4D-CT for the purposes of target delineation and dose calculation, and to explore the role of PET in target delineation of lung cancer.

Methods: To determine whether cine CT could substitute 4D-CT for small mobile lung tumors, we compared target volumes delineated by a physician on cine CT and 4D-CT for 27 tumors with intrafractional motion greater than 1 cm. We assessed dose calculation by comparing dose distributions calculated on respiratory-averaged cine CT and respiratory-averaged 4D-CT using the gamma index. A threshold-based PET segmentation model of size, motion, and source-to-background was developed from phantom scans and validated with 24 lung tumors. Finally, feasibility of integrating cine CT and PET for contouring was assessed on a small group of larger tumors.

Results: Cine CT to 4D-CT target volume ratios were (1.05±0.14) and (0.97±0.13) for high-contrast and low-contrast tumors respectively which was within intraobserver variation. Dose distributions on cine CT produced good agreement (< 2%/1 mm) with 4D-CT for 71 of 73 patients. The segmentation model fit the phantom data with R2 = 0.96 and produced PET target volumes that matched CT better than 6 published methods (-5.15%). Application of the model to more complex tumors produced mixed results and further research is necessary to adequately integrate PET and cine CT for delineation.

Conclusions: Cine CT can be used for target delineation of small mobile lesions with minimal differences to 4D-CT. PET, utilizing the segmentation model, can provide additional contrast. Additional research is required to assess the efficacy of complex tumor delineation with cine CT and PET. Respiratory-averaged cine CT can substitute respiratory-averaged 4D-CT for dose calculation with negligible differences.

Keywords

lung cancer, 4D-CT, PET/CT, radiation therapy, treatment planning, tumor delineation, dose calculation, cine CT