CTC-ask: a new algorithm for conversion of CT numbers to tissue parameters for Monte Carlo dose calculations applying DICOM RS knowledge

Phys Med Biol. 2011 Nov 21;56(22):N263-74. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/56/22/N01. Epub 2011 Oct 25.


One of the building blocks in Monte Carlo (MC) treatment planning is to convert patient CT data to MC compatible phantoms, consisting of density and media matrices. The resulting dose distribution is highly influenced by the accuracy of the conversion. Two major contributing factors are precise conversion of CT number to density and proper differentiation between air and lung. Existing tools do not address this issue specifically. Moreover, their density conversion may depend on the number of media used. Differentiation between air and lung is an important task in MC treatment planning and misassignment may lead to local dose errors on the order of 10%. A novel algorithm, CTC-ask, is presented in this study. It enables locally confined constraints for the media assignment and is independent of the number of media used for the conversion of CT number to density. MC compatible phantoms were generated for two clinical cases using a CT-conversion scheme implemented in both CTC-ask and the DICOM-RT toolbox. Full MC dose calculation was subsequently conducted and the resulting dose distributions were compared. The DICOM-RT toolbox inaccurately assigned lung in 9.9% and 12.2% of the voxels located outside of the lungs for the two cases studied, respectively. This was completely avoided by CTC-ask. CTC-ask is able to reduce anatomically irrational media assignment. The CTC-ask source code can be made available upon request to the authors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Monte Carlo Method*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*