An investigation into factors affecting electron density calibration for a megavoltage cone-beam CT system
There is a growing interest in the use of megavoltage cone-beam computed tomography (MV CBCT) data for radiotherapy treatment planning. To calculate accurate dose distributions, knowledge of the electron density (ED) of the tissues being irradiated is required. In the case of MV CBCT, it is necessary to determine a calibration-relating CT number to ED, utilizing the photon beam produced for MV CBCT. A number of different parameters can affect this calibration. This study was undertaken on the Siemens MV CBCT system, MVision, to evaluate the effect of the following parameters on the reconstructed CT pixel value to ED calibration: the number of monitor units (MUs) used (5, 8, 15 and 60 MUs), the image reconstruction filter (head and neck, and pelvis), reconstruction matrix size (256 by 256 and 512 by 512), and the addition of extra solid water surrounding the ED phantom. A Gammex electron density CT phantom containing EDs from 0.292 to 1.707 was imaged under each of these conditions. The linear relationship between MV CBCT pixel value and ED was demonstrated for all MU settings and over the range of EDs. Changes in MU number did not dramatically alter the MV CBCT ED calibration. The use of different reconstruction filters was found to affect the MV CBCT ED calibration, as was the addition of solid water surrounding the phantom. Dose distributions from treatment plans calculated with simulated image data from a 15 MU head and neck reconstruction filter MV CBCT image and a MV CBCT ED calibration curve from the image data parameters and a 15 MU pelvis reconstruction filter showed small and clinically insignificant differences. Thus, the use of a single MV CBCT ED calibration curve is unlikely to result in any clinical differences. However, to ensure minimal uncertainties in dose reporting, MV CBCT ED calibration measurements could be carried out using parameter-specific calibration measurements.
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