A Feasibility Study on the Use of TomoTherapy Megavoltage Computed Tomography Images for Palliative Patient Treatment Planning
Megavoltage CT (MVCT) images of patients are acquired daily on a helical tomotherapy unit (TomoTherapy, Inc., Madison, WI). While these images are used primarily for patient alignment, they can also be used to recalculate the treatment plan for the patient anatomy of the day. The use of MVCT images for dose computations requires a reliable CT number to electron density calibration curve. In this work, we tested the stability of the MVCT numbers by determining the variation of this calibration with spatial arrangement of the phantom, time and MVCT acquisition parameters. The two calibration curves that represent the largest variations were applied to six clinical MVCT images for recalculations to test for dosimetric uncertainties. Among the six cases tested, the largest difference in any of the dosimetric endpoints was 3.1% but more typically the dosimetric endpoints varied by less than 2%. Using an average CT to electron density calibration and a thorax phantom, a series of end-to-end tests were run. Using a rigid phantom, recalculated dose volume histograms (DVHs) were compared with plan DVHs. Using a deformed phantom, recalculated point dose variations were compared with measurements. The MVCT field of view is limited and the image space outside this field of view can be filled in with information from the planning kVCT. This merging technique was tested for a rigid phantom. Finally, the influence of the MVCT slice thickness on the dose recalculation was investigated. The dosimetric differences observed in all phantom tests were within the range of dosimetric uncertainties observed due to variations in the calibration curve. The use of MVCT images allows the assessment of daily dose distributions with an accuracy that is similar to that of the initial kVCT dose calculation.