CBCT imaging: a simple approach for optimising and evaluating concomitant imaging doses, based on patient-specific attenuation, during radiotherapy pelvis treatment

Br J Radiol. 2021 Aug 1;94(1124):20210068. doi: 10.1259/bjr.20210068.


Objectives: A simple, robust method, for optimising cone-beam CT (CBCT) dose and image quality for pelvis treatment, based on patient-specific attenuation.

Methods: Methods were investigated for grouping patients into four imaging categories (small [S], medium [M], large [L], extra large [XL]), based on planning-CT CTDIvol, and phantoms constructed to represent each group. CBCTs with varying kV, mA and ms honed in on the best settings, with a bladder noise of 25 HU. A patient pilot study clinically verified the new imaging settings.

Results: The planning CTDIvol is a reliable method for grouping patients. Phantom measurements from the S, M and L groups show doses significantly reduced (19-83% reduction), whilst the XL group required an increase of 39%. Phantom TLD measurements showed the number of scans needed to increase rectal organ at risk (OAR) dose by 1 Gy was 143 (S group) and 50 (M group). Images were qualitatively assessed as sufficient by clinicians.

Conclusion: Patient-specific CBCT modes are in use clinically with dose reductions across all modes except Pelvis XL, keeping doses ALARP and images optimal. Consideration of OAR doses controls the number of CBCTs allowed to ensure adherence to OAR tolerance. Reporting CBCT doses in "scans per Gray" allows clinicians to make informed decisions regarding the imaging schedule and concomitant doses.

Advances in knowledge: Patient grouping at planning CT, using CTDIvol, allows for CBCT imaging protocols to be selected based on patient specific attenuation. Reporting OAR doses in terms of "scans per Gray" allows translation of imaging dose risk to the Oncologist.

MeSH terms

  • Cone-Beam Computed Tomography*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pelvic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Pilot Projects
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiotherapy Dosage*
  • Radiotherapy, Image-Guided*
  • Retrospective Studies