Effects of MR imaging time reduction on substitute CT generation for prostate MRI-only treatment planning

Publication Name

Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine


The introduction of MRI linear accelerators (MR-linacs) and the increased use of MR imaging in radiotherapy, requires improved approaches to MRI-only radiotherapy. MRI provides excellent soft tissue visualisation but does not provide any electron density information required for radiotherapy dose calculation, instead MRI is registered to CT images to enable dose calculations. MRI-only radiotherapy eliminates registration errors and reduces patient discomfort, workload and cost. Electron density requirements may be addressed in different ways, from manually applying bulk density corrections, to more computationally intensive methods to produce substitute CT datasets (sCT), requiring additional sequences, increasing overall imaging time. Reducing MR imaging time would reduce potential artefacts from intrafraction motion and patient discomfort. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of reducing MR imaging time on a hybrid atlas-voxel sCT conversion for prostate MRI-only treatment planning, considering both anatomical and dosimetric parameters. 10 volunteers were scanned on a Siemens Skyra 3T MRI. Sequences included the 3D T2-weighted (T2-w) SPACE sequence used for sCT conversion as previously validated against CT, along with variations to this sequence in repetition time (TR), turbo factor, and combinations of these to reduce the imaging time. All scans were converted to sCT and were compared to the sCT from the original SPACE sequence, evaluating for anatomical changes and dosimetric differences for a standard prostate VMAT plan. Compared to the previously validated T2-w SPACE sequence, scan times were reduced by up to 80%. The external volume and bony anatomy were compared, with all but one sequence meeting a DICE coefficient of 0.9 or better, with the largest variations occurring at the edges of the external body volume. The generated sCT agreed with the gold standard sCT within an isocentre dose of 1% and a gamma pass rate of 99% for a 1%/1 mm gamma tolerance for all but one sequence. This study demonstrates that the MR imaging sequence time was able to be reduced by approximately 80% with similar dosimetric results.

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