Calibration of CT Hounsfield units for proton therapy treatment planning: use of kilovoltage and megavoltage images and comparison of parameterized methods

Phys Med Biol. 2013 Jun 21;58(12):4255-76. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/58/12/4255. Epub 2013 May 29.


Proton beam range is of major concern, in particular, when images used for dose computations are artifacted (for example in patients with surgically treated bone tumors). We investigated several conditions and methods for determination of computed tomography Hounsfield unit (CT-HU) calibration curves, using two different conversion schemes. A stoichiometric methodology was used on either kilovoltage (kV) or megavoltage (MV) CT images and the accuracy of the calibration methods was evaluated. We then studied the effects of metal artifacts on proton dose distributions using metallic implants in rigid phantom mimicking clinical conditions. MV-CT images were used to evaluate relative proton stopping power in certain high density implants, and a methodology is proposed for accurate delineation and dose calculation, using a combined set of kV- and MV-CT images. Our results show good agreement between measurements and dose calculations or relative proton stopping power determination (<5%). The results also show that range uncertainty increases when only kV-CT images are used or when no correction is made on artifacted images. However, differences between treatment plans calculated on corrected kV-CT data and MV-CT data remained insignificant in the investigated patient case, even with streak artifacts and volume effects that reduce the accuracy of manual corrections.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Calibration
  • Humans
  • Metals
  • Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Organs at Risk / radiation effects
  • Prostheses and Implants
  • Proton Therapy / adverse effects
  • Proton Therapy / methods*
  • Radiometry
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*


  • Metals