Dose evaluation of MRI-based synthetic CT generated using a machine learning method for prostate cancer radiotherapy

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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-only radiotherapy treatment planning is attractive since MRI provides superior soft tissue contrast over computed tomographies (CTs), without the ionizing radiation exposure. However, it requires the generation of a synthetic CT (SCT) from MRIs for patient setup and dose calculation. In this study, we aim to investigate the accuracy of dose calculation in prostate cancer radiotherapy using SCTs generated from MRIs using our learning-based method. We retrospectively investigated a total of 17 treatment plans from 10 patients, each having both planning CTs (pCT) and MRIs acquired before treatment. The SCT was registered to the pCT for generating SCT-based treatment plans. The original pCT-based plans served as ground truth. Clinically-relevant dose volume histogram (DVH) metrics were extracted from both ground truth and SCT-based plans for comparison and evaluation. Gamma analysis was performed for the comparison of absorbed dose distributions between SCT- and pCT-based plans of each patient. Gamma analysis of dose distribution on pCT and SCT within 1%/1 mm at 10% dose threshold showed greater than 99% pass rate. The average differences in DVH metrics for planning target volumes (PTVs) were less than 1%, and similar metrics for organs at risk (OAR) were not statistically different. The SCT images created from MR images using our proposed machine learning method are accurate for dose calculation in prostate cancer radiation treatment planning. This study also demonstrates the great potential for MRI to completely replace CT scans in the process of simulation and treatment planning. However, MR images are needed to further analyze geometric distortion effects. Digitally reconstructed radiograph (DRR) can be generated within our method, and their accuracy in patient setup needs further analysis.

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Shafai-Erfani, G., Wang, T., Lei, Y., Tian, S., Patel, P., Jani, A. B., … Yang, X. (2019). Dose evaluation of MRI-based synthetic CT generated using a machine learning method for prostate cancer radiotherapy. Medical Dosimetry, 44(4), e64–e70.

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