A quantitative image quality comparison of four different image guided radiotherapy devices

Radiother Oncol. 2008 Jan;86(1):20-4. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2007.10.035. Epub 2007 Nov 26.


Purpose: A study to quantitatively compare the image quality of four different image guided radiotherapy (IGRT) devices based on phantom measurements with respect to the additional dose delivered to the patient.

Methods: Images of three different head-sized phantoms (diameter 16-18 cm) were acquired with the following four IGRT-CT solutions: (i) the Siemens Primatom single slice fan beam computed tomography (CT) scanner with an acceleration voltage of 130 kV, (ii) a Tomotherapy HI-ART II unit using a fan beam scanner with an energy of 3.5 MeV and (iii) the Siemens Artíste prototype, providing the possibility to perform kV (121 kV) and MV (6 MV) cone beam (CB) CTs. For each device three scan protocols (named low, normal, high) were selected to yield the same weighted computed tomography dose index (CTDI(w)). Based on the individual inserts of the different phantoms the image quality achieved with each device at a certain dose level was characterized in terms of homogeneity, spatial resolution, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) and electron density-to-CT-number conversion.

Results: Based on the current findings for head-sized phantoms all devices show an electron density-to-CT-number conversion almost independent of the imaging parameters and hence can be suited for treatment planning purposes. The evaluation of the image quality, however, points out clear differences due to the different energies and geometries. The Primatom standard CT scanner shows throughout the best performance, especially for soft tissue contrast and spatial resolution with low imaging doses. Reasonable soft tissue contrast can be obtained with slightly higher doses compared to the CT scanner with the kVCB and the Tomotherapy unit. In order to get similar results with the MVCB system a much higher dose needs to be applied to the patient.

Conclusion: Considering the entire investigations, especially in terms of contrast and spatial resolution, a rough tendency for decreasing image quality can be given: Primatom, Artíste prototype kVCB, Tomotherapy, Artíste prototype MVCB.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement
  • Radiography, Interventional*
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted
  • Radiotherapy, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*