Author(s): Kurz C, Bauer J, Unholtz D, Richter D, Herfarth K,
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Abstract PURPOSE: Intrafractional organ motion imposes considerable challenges to scanned ion beam therapy and demands for a thorough verification of the applied treatment. At the Heidelberg Ion-Beam Therapy Center (HIT), the scanned ion beam delivery is verified by means of postirradiation positron-emission-tomography (PET) imaging. This work presents a first clinical evaluation of PET-based treatment monitoring in ion beam therapy under consideration of target motion. METHODS: Three patients with mobile liver lesions underwent scanned carbon ion irradiation at HIT and postirradiation PET/CT (x-ray-computed-tomography) imaging with a commercial scanner. Respiratory motion was recorded during irradiation and subsequent image acquisition. This enabled a time-resolved (4D) calculation of the expected irradiation-induced activity pattern and, for one patient where an additional 4D CT was acquired at the PET/CT scanner after treatment, a motion-compensated PET image reconstruction. For the other patients, PET data were reconstructed statically. To verify the treatment, calculated prediction and reconstructed measurement were compared with a focus on the ion beam range. RESULTS: Results in the current three patients suggest that for motion amplitudes in the order of 2 mm there is no benefit from incorporating respiratory motion information into PET-based treatment monitoring. For a target motion in the order of 10 mm, motion-related effects become more severe and a time-resolved modeling of the expected activity distribution can lead to an improved data interpretation if a sufficient number of true coincidences is detected. Benefits from motion-compensated PET image reconstruction could not be shown conclusively at the current stage. CONCLUSIONS: The feasibility of clinical PET-based treatment verification under consideration of organ motion has been shown for the first time. Improvements in noise-robust 4D PET image reconstruction are deemed necessary to enhance the clinical potential.
This article was published in Med Phys
and referenced in Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology