Comparing cone-beam CT intensity correction methods for dose recalculation in adaptive intensity-modulated photon and proton therapy for head and neck cancer


Background. Adaptive intensity-modulated photon and proton radiotherapy (IMRT and IMPT) of head and neck (H&N) cancer requires frequent three-dimensional (3D) dose calculation. We compared two approaches for dose recalculation on the basis of intensity-corrected cone-beam (CB) x-ray computed tomography (CT) images.

Material and methods. For nine H&N tumor patients, virtual CTs (vCT) were generated by deformable image registration of the planning CT (pCT) to the CBCT. The second intensity correction approach used population-based lookup tables for scaling CBCT intensities to the pCT HU range (CBCTLUT). IMRT and IMPT plans were generated with a commercial treatment planning system. Dose recalculations on vCT and CBCTLUT were analyzed using a (3%, 3 mm) gamma-index analysis and comparison of normal tissue and tumor dose/volume parameters. A replanning CT (rpCT) acquired within three days of the CBCT served as reference. Single field uniform dose (SFUD) proton plans were created and recalculated on vCT and CBCTLUT for proton range comparison.

Results. Dose/volume parameters showed minor differences between rpCT, vCT and CBCTLUT in IMRT, but clinically relevant deviations between CBCTLUT and rpCT in the spinal cord for IMPT. Gamma-index pass-rates were found increased for vCT with respect to CBCTLUT in IMPT (by up to 21 percentage points) and IMRT (by up to 9 percentage points) for most cases. The SFUD-based proton range assessment showed improved agreement of vCT and rpCT, with 88–99% of the depth dose profiles in beam's eye view agreeing within 3 mm. For CBCTLUT, only 80–94% of the profiles fulfilled this criterion.

Conclusion. vCT and CBCTLUT are suitable options for dose recalculation in adaptive IMRT. In the scope of IMPT, the vCT approach is preferable.