Precision assessment of bowel motion quantification using 3D cine-MRI for radiotherapy

Phys Med Biol. 2024 Jan 3;69(4). doi: 10.1088/1361-6560/ad1f89.


Objective. The bowel is an important organ at risk for toxicity during pelvic and abdominal radiotherapy. Identifying regions of high and low bowel motion with MRI during radiotherapy may help to understand the development of bowel toxicity, but the acquisition time of MRI is rather long. The aim of this study is to retrospectively evaluate the precision of bowel motion quantification and to estimate the minimum MRI acquisition time.Approach. We included 22 gynaecologic cancer patients receiving definitive radiotherapy with curative intent. The 10 min pre-treatment 3D cine-MRI scan consisted of 160 dynamics with an acquisition time of 3.7 s per volume. Deformable registration of consecutive images generated 159 deformation vector fields (DVFs). We defined two motion metrics, the 50th percentile vector lengths (VL50) of the complete set of DVFs was used to measure median bowel motion. The 95th percentile vector lengths (VL95) was used to quantify high motion of the bowel. The precision of these metrics was assessed by calculating their variation (interquartile range) in three different time frames, defined as subsets of 40, 80, and 120 consecutive images, corresponding to acquisition times of 2.5, 5.0, and 7.5 min, respectively.Main results. For the full 10 min scan, the minimum motion per frame of 50% of the bowel volume (M50%) ranged from 0.6-3.5 mm for the VL50 motion metric and 2.3-9.0 mm for the VL95 motion metric, across all patients. At 7.5 min scan time, the variation in M50% was less than 0.5 mm in 100% (VL50) and 95% (VL95) of the subsets. A scan time of 5.0 and 2.5 min achieved a variation within 0.5 mm in 95.2%/81% and 85.7%/57.1% of the subsets, respectively.Significance. Our 3D cine-MRI technique quantifies bowel loop motion with 95%-100% confidence with a precision of 0.5 mm variation or less, using a 7.5 min scan time.

Keywords: 3D cine-MRI; bowel motion; deformable image registration; motion metric; motion volume histogram.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cine* / methods
  • Motion
  • Radiotherapy, Image-Guided* / methods
  • Retrospective Studies