A monoscopic method for real-time tumour tracking using combined occasional x-ray imaging and continuous respiratory monitoring.

Research paper by Byungchul B Cho, Yelin Y Suh, Sonja S Dieterich, Paul J PJ Keall

Indexed on: 08 May '08Published on: 08 May '08Published in: Physics in medicine and biology


Three major linear accelerator vendors offer gantry-mounted single (monoscopic) x-ray imagers. The use of monoscopic imaging to estimate three-dimensional (3D) target positions has not been fully explored. The purpose of this work is to develop and investigate a robust monoscopic method for real-time tumour tracking, combining occasional x-ray imaging and continuous external respiratory monitoring, and compare this with an established stereoscopic method. Monoscopic estimation of 3D target positions is a two-step procedure. Step (1) is similar to the stereoscopic approach using combined occasional x-ray imaging and real-time external respiratory monitoring, i.e. to establish the correlation between the target coordinates T(x, y, z) and the external respiratory signal (R) (sECM: stereoscopic external correlation model). However, in monoscopic estimation, the correlation between the two coordinates (xp, yp) projected on the imager plane and the external respiratory signal (mECM: monoscopic external correlation model) is established. With only a single projection, the component of the 3D target position, which is along the x-ray imaging direction, is unresolved. Therefore, step (2) is used to estimate the unresolved component (z( parallel)) by building a correlation model between the unresolved component and the two other components projected on the imager (ICM: internal correlation model) with a prior 3D target trajectory that may be obtained by 4DCT, MV/kV imaging or 4DCBCT. At the time of prediction, (xp, yp) are estimated from (R) using the correlation model in step (1), and then z( parallel) is estimated from the estimated (xp, yp) using the correlation model in step (2). The performance of the proposed method was evaluated under various model update intervals and compared with the stereoscopic estimation method using 160 tumour trajectory and external respiratory motion data recorded at 25 Hz from 46 thoracic and abdominal cancer patients who underwent hypofractionated stereotactic radiotherapy by a CyberKnife system. The precision of the input data used in this study to represent tumour motion was assessed using x-ray imaging to be 1.5 +/- 0.8 mm. Monoscopic imaging every 30/60 s with updating ICM every 120/180 s can estimate target positions with a 1 mm root-mean-square error (RMSE) for 63/53% or a 2 mm RMSE for 93/91%, respectively. In contrast, stereoscopic x-ray imaging every 30/60 s can estimate target motion within a 1 mm RMSE for 72/58% or a 2 mm RMSE for 95/92%, respectively. The overall 3D error of the monoscopic estimation is approximately 10% higher than comparable stereoscopic imaging methods when the period between imaging is 1 s or more, and 40% higher for continuous imaging. The promising result may be explained by the fact that superior/inferior motion-the major axis of tumour motion-is fully resolved even in the monoscopic view for coplanar treatments, and tumour motion in each dimension is relatively well correlated.