Precise tracking of lung tumor motion during treatment delivery still represents a challenge in radiation therapy. Prototypes of MRI-linac hybrid systems are being created which have the potential of ionization-free real-time imaging of the tumor. This study evaluates the performance of lung tumor tracking algorithms in cine-MRI sagittal images from five healthy volunteers. Visible vascular structures were used as targets. Volunteers performed several series of regular and irregular breathing. Two tracking algorithms were implemented and evaluated: a template matching (TM) algorithm in combination with surrogate tracking using the diaphragm (surrogate was used when the maximum correlation between the template and the image in the search window was less than specified), and an artificial neural network (ANN) model based on the principal components of a region of interest that encompasses the target motion. The mean tracking error and the error at 95% confidence level e95 were evaluated for each model. The ANN model led to = 1.5 mm and e95 = 4.2 mm, while TM led to = 0.6 mm and e95 = 1.0 mm. An extra series was considered separately to evaluate the benefit of using surrogate tracking in combination with TM when target out-of-plane motion occurs. For this series, the mean error was 7.2 mm using only TM and 1.7 mm when the surrogate was used in combination with TM. Results show that, as opposed to tracking with other imaging modalities, ANN does not perform well in MR-guided tracking. TM, however, leads to highly accurate tracking. Out-of-plane motion could be addressed by surrogate tracking using the diaphragm, which can be easily identified in the images.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology