MV-based relative electron density estimation (iMREDe) for MR-LINAC dose calculation

Med Phys. 2024 Mar;51(3):2155-2163. doi: 10.1002/mp.16969. Epub 2024 Feb 3.


Background: MR-LINAC systems have been increasingly utilized for real-time imaging in adaptive treatments worldwide. Challenges in MR representation of air cavities and subsequent estimation of electron density maps impede planning efficiency and may lead to dose calculation uncertainties.

Purpose: To demonstrate the generation of accurate electron density maps using the primary MV beam with a flat-panel imager.

Methods: The ViewRay MRIdian MR-LINAC system was modeled digitally for Monte Carlo simulations. Iron shimming, the magnetic field, and the proposed flat panel detector were included in the model. The effect of the magnetic field on the detector response was investigated. Acquisition of projections over 360 degrees was simulated for digital phantoms of the Catphan 505 phantom and a patient treated for Head and Neck cancer. Shim patterns on the projections were removed and detector noise linearity was assessed. Electron density maps were generated for the digital patient phantom using the flat-panel detector and compared with actual treatment planning CT generated electron density maps of the same patient.

Results: The effect of the magnetic field on the detector point-spread function (PSF) was found to be substantial for field strengths above 50 mT. Shims correction in the projection images using air normalization and in-painting effectively removed reconstruction artifacts without affecting noise linearity. The relative difference between reconstructed electron density maps from the proposed method and electron density maps generated from the treatment planning CT was 11% on average along all slices included in the iMREDe reconstruction.

Conclusions: The proposed iMREDe technique demonstrated the feasibility of generating accurate electron densities for the ViewRay MRIdian MR-LINAC system with a flat-panel imager and the primary MV beam. This work is a step towards reducing the time and effort required for adaptive radiotherapy in the current ViewRay MR-LINAC systems.

Keywords: CBCT; EPID; MR-LINAC; MV imaging; electron density.

MeSH terms

  • Cone-Beam Computed Tomography / methods
  • Electrons*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms*
  • Humans
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Particle Accelerators
  • Phantoms, Imaging

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