Treatment planning calculations for proton therapy require an accurate knowledge of radiological path length, or range, to the distal edge of the target volume. In most cases, the range may be calculated with sufficient accuracy using kilovoltage (kV) computed tomography (CT) images. However, metal implants such as hip prostheses can cause severe streak artifacts that lead to large uncertainties in proton range. The purposes of this study were to quantify streak-related range errors and to determine if they could be avoided by using artifact-free megavoltage (MV) CT images in treatment planning. Proton treatment plans were prepared for a rigid, heterogeneous phantom and for a prostate cancer patient with a metal hip prosthesis using corrected and uncorrected kVCT images alone, uncorrected MVCT images and a combination of registered MVCT and kVCT images (the hybrid approach). Streak-induced range errors of 5-12 mm were present in the uncorrected kVCT-based patient plan. Correcting the streaks by manually assigning estimated true Hounsfield units improved the range accuracy. In a rigid heterogeneous phantom, the implant-related range uncertainty was estimated at approach, the kVCT images provided good delineation of soft tissues due to high-contrast resolution, and the streak-free MVCT images provided smaller range uncertainties because they did not require artifact correction. © 2008 Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Physics in Medicine and Biology
Newhauser, W., Giebeler, A., Langen, K., Mirkovic, D., & Mohan, R. (2008). Can megavoltage computed tomography reduce proton range uncertainties in treatment plans for patients with large metal implants?. Physics in Medicine and Biology, 53 (9), 2327-2344. https://doi.org/10.1088/0031-9155/53/9/009