Evaluation of MRI-only based online adaptive radiotherapy of abdominal region on MR-linac

J Appl Clin Med Phys. 2023 Mar;24(3):e13838. doi: 10.1002/acm2.13838. Epub 2022 Nov 8.


Purpose: A hybrid magnetic resonance linear accelerator (MRL) can perform magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with high soft-tissue contrast to be used for online adaptive radiotherapy (oART). To obtain electron densities needed for the oART dose calculation, a computed tomography (CT) is often deformably registered to MRI. Our aim was to evaluate an MRI-only based synthetic CT (sCT) generation as an alternative to the deformed CT (dCT)-based oART in the abdominal region.

Methods: The study data consisted of 57 patients who were treated on a 0.35 T MRL system mainly for abdominal tumors. Simulation MRI-CT pairs of 43 patients were used for training and validation of a prototype convolutional neural network sCT-generation algorithm, based on HighRes3DNet, for the abdominal region. For remaining test patients, sCT images were produced from simulation MRIs and daily MRIs. The dCT-based plans were re-calculated on sCT with identical calculation parameters. The sCT and dCT were compared in terms of geometric agreement and calculated dose.

Results: The mean and one standard deviation of the geometric agreement metrics over dCT-sCT-pairs were: mean error of 8 ± 10 HU, mean absolute error of 49 ± 10 HU, and Dice similarity coefficient of 55 ± 12%, 60 ± 5%, and 82 ± 15% for bone, fat, and lung tissues, respectively. The dose differences between the sCT and dCT-based dose for planning target volumes were 0.5 ± 0.9%, 0.6 ± 0.8%, and 0.5 ± 0.8% at D2% , D50% , and D98% in physical dose and 0.8 ± 1.4%, 0.8 ± 1.2%, and 0.6 ± 1.1% in biologically effective dose (BED). For organs-at-risk, the dose differences of all evaluated dose-volume histogram points were within [-4.5%, 7.8%] and [-1.1 Gy, 3.5 Gy] in both physical dose and BED.

Conclusions: The geometric agreement metrics were within typically reported values and most average relative dose differences were within 1%. Thus, an MRI-only sCT-based approach is a promising alternative to the current clinical practice of the abdominal oART on MRL.

Keywords: MR-linac; MRI-only; online adaptive radiotherapy; synthetic CT.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted* / methods
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated* / methods