First clinical implementation of real-time, real anatomy tracking and radiation beam control

Med Phys. 2018 May 28. doi: 10.1002/mp.13002. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: We describe the acceptance testing, commissioning, periodic quality assurance, and workflow procedures developed for the first clinically implemented magnetic resonance imaging-guided radiation therapy (MR-IGRT) system for real-time tracking and beam control.

Methods: The system utilizes real-time cine imaging capabilities at 4 frames per second for real-time tracking and beam control. Testing of the system was performed using an in-house developed motion platform and a commercially available motion phantom. Anatomical tracking is performed by first identifying a target (a region of interest that is either tissue to be treated or a critical structure) and generating a contour around it. A boundary contour is also created to identify tracking margins. The tracking algorithm deforms the anatomical contour (target or a normal organ) on every subsequent cine frame and compares it to the static boundary contour. If the anatomy of interest moves outside the boundary, the radiation delivery is halted until the tracked anatomy returns to treatment portal. The following were performed to validate and clinically implement the system: (a) spatial integrity evaluation; (b) tracking accuracy; (c) latency; (d) relative point dose and spatial dosimetry; (e) development of clinical workflow for gating; and (f) independent verification by an outside credentialing service.

Results: The spatial integrity of the MR system was found to be within 2 mm over a 45-cm diameter field-of-view. The tracking accuracy for geometric targets was within 1.2 mm. The average system latency was measured to be within 394 ms. The dosimetric accuracy using ionization chambers was within 1.3% ± 1.7%, and the dosimetric spatial accuracy was within 2 mm. The phantom irradiation for the outside credentialing service had satisfactory results, as well.

Conclusions: The first clinical MR-IGRT system was validated for real-time tracking and gating capabilities and shown to be reliable and accurate. Patient workflow methods were developed for efficient treatment. Periodic quality assurance tests can be efficiently performed with commercially available equipment to ensure accurate system performance.

Keywords: MRI; gating; image-guided therapy; quality assurance.