Indexed on: 08 May '13Published on: 08 May '13Published in: Physics in medicine and biology
Real-time knowledge of tumor position during radiation therapy is essential to overcome the adverse effect of intra-fractional organ motion. The goal of this work is to develop a tumor tracking strategy by effectively utilizing the inherent image features of stereoscopic x-ray images acquired during dose delivery. In stereoscopic x-ray image guided radiation delivery, two orthogonal x-ray images are acquired either simultaneously or sequentially. The essence of markerless tumor tracking is the reliable identification of inherent points with distinct tissue features on each projection image and their association between two images. The identification of the feature points on a planar x-ray image is realized by searching for points with high intensity gradient. The feature points are associated by using the scale invariance features transform descriptor. The performance of the proposed technique is evaluated by using images of a motion phantom and four archived clinical cases acquired using either a CyberKnife equipped with a stereoscopic x-ray imaging system, or a LINAC equipped with an onboard kV imager and an electronic portal imaging device. In the phantom study, the results obtained using the proposed method agree with the measurements to within 2 mm in all three directions. In the clinical study, the mean error is 0.48 ± 0.46 mm for four patient data with 144 sequential images. In this work, a tissue feature-based tracking method for stereoscopic x-ray image guided radiation therapy is developed. The technique avoids the invasive procedure of fiducial implantation and may greatly facilitate the clinical workflow.