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Reducing radiation dose and enhancing imaging quality of 4DCT for radiation therapy using iterative reconstruction algorithms. Adv Radiat Oncol 2017 Jul-Sep;2(3):515-521



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Purpose: Four-dimensional computed tomography (CT) images are typically used to quantify the necessary internal target volumes for thoracic and abdominal tumors. However, 4-dimensional CT is typically associated with excessive imaging dose to patients and the situation is exacerbated when using repeat 4-dimensional CT imaging on a weekly or daily basis throughout fractionated therapy. The aim of this work is to evaluate an iterative reconstruction (IR) algorithm that helps reduce the imaging dose to the patient while maintaining imaging quality as quantified by point spread function and contrast-to-noise ratios (CNRs).

Methods and materials: An IR algorithm, SAFIRE, was applied to CT data of a phantom and patients with varying CT doses and reconstruction kernels. Phantom data enable measurements of spatial resolution, contrast, and noise. The impact of SAFIRE on 4-dimensional CT was assessed with patient data acquired at 2 different dose levels during image guided radiation therapy with an in-room CT.

Results: Phantom data demonstrate that IR reduces noise approximately in proportion to the number of iterations indicated by the strength (SAFIRE 1 to SAFIRE 5). Spatial resolution and contrast are conserved independent of dose and reconstruction parameters. The CNR increases with an increase of imaging dose or an increase in the number of iterations. The use of IR on CT sets confirms the results that were derived from phantom scans. The IR significantly enhances single breathing phase CTs in 4-dimensional CT sets as assessed by CT number discrimination. Furthermore, the IR of the low dose 4-dimensional CT features a 45% increase in the CNR in comparison with the standard dose 4-dimensional CT.

Conclusions: The use of IR algorithms reduces noise while preserving spatial resolution and contrast, as evaluated from both phantom and patient CT data sets. For 4-dimensional CT, the IR can significantly improve image quality and reduce imaging dose without compromising image quality.

Author List

Noid G, Tai A, Chen GP, Robbins J, Li XA


Guang-Pei Chen PhD Assistant Professor in the Radiation Oncology department at Medical College of Wisconsin
X Allen Li PhD Professor in the Radiation Oncology department at Medical College of Wisconsin
An Tai PhD Associate Professor in the Radiation Oncology department at Medical College of Wisconsin

jenkins-FCD Prod-480 9a4deaf152b0b06dd18151814fff2e18f6c05280