Correlation between CT numbers and tissue parameters needed for Monte Carlo simulations of clinical dose distributions

Phys Med Biol. 2000 Feb;45(2):459-78. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/45/2/314.


We describe a new method to convert CT numbers into mass density and elemental weights of tissues required as input for dose calculations with Monte Carlo codes such as EGS4. As a first step, we calculate the CT numbers for 71 human tissues. To reduce the effort for the necessary fits of the CT numbers to mass density and elemental weights, we establish four sections on the CT number scale, each confined by selected tissues. Within each section, the mass density and elemental weights of the selected tissues are interpolated. For this purpose, functional relationships between the CT number and each of the tissue parameters, valid for media which are composed of only two components in varying proportions, are derived. Compared with conventional data fits, no loss of accuracy is accepted when using the interpolation functions. Assuming plausible values for the deviations of calculated and measured CT numbers, the mass density can be determined with an accuracy better than 0.04 g cm(-3). The weights of phosphorus and calcium can be determined with maximum uncertainties of 1 or 2.3 percentage points (pp) respectively. Similar values can be achieved for hydrogen (0.8 pp) and nitrogen (3 pp). For carbon and oxygen weights, errors up to 14 pp can occur. The influence of the elemental weights on the results of Monte Carlo dose calculations is investigated and discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Male
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Organ Specificity
  • Phantoms, Imaging*
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*