Metallic artifact mitigation and organ-constrained tissue assignment for Monte Carlo calculations of permanent implant lung brachytherapy




To investigate methods of generating accurate patient-specific computational phantoms for the Monte Carlo calculation of lung brachytherapy patient dose distributions.


Four metallic artifact mitigation methods are applied to six lung brachytherapy patient computed tomography (CT) images: simple threshold replacement (STR) identifies high CT values in the vicinity of the seeds and replaces them with estimated true values; fan beam virtual sinogram replaces artifact-affected values in a virtual sinogram and performs a filtered back-projection to generate a corrected image; 3D median filter replaces voxel values that differ from the median value in a region of interest surrounding the voxel and then applies a second filter to reduce noise; and a combination of fan beam virtual sinogram and STR. Computational phantoms are generated from artifact-corrected and uncorrected images using several tissue assignment schemes: both lung-contour constrained and unconstrained global schemes are considered. Voxel mass densities are assigned based on voxel CT number or using the nominal tissue mass densities. Dose distributions are calculated using the EGSnrc user-code BrachyDose for125I, 103Pd, and 131Cs seeds and are compared directly as well as through dose volume histograms and dose metrics for target volumes surrounding surgical sutures.


Metallic artifact mitigation techniques vary in ability to reduce artifacts while preserving tissue detail. Notably, images corrected with the fan beam virtual sinogram have reduced artifacts but residual artifacts near sources remain requiring additional use of STR; the 3D median filter removes artifacts but simultaneously removes detail in lung and bone. Doses vary considerably between computational phantoms with the largest differences arising from artifact-affected voxels assigned to bone in the vicinity of the seeds. Consequently, when metallic artifact reduction and constrained tissue assignment within lung contours are employed in generated phantoms, this erroneous assignment is reduced, generally resulting in higher doses. Lung-constrained tissue assignment also results in increased doses in regions of interest due to a reduction in the erroneous assignment of adipose to voxels within lung contours. Differences in dose metrics calculated for different computational phantoms are sensitive to radionuclide photon spectra with the largest differences for103Pd seeds and smallest but still considerable differences for 131Cs seeds.


Despite producing differences in CT images, dose metrics calculated using the STR, fan beam + STR, and 3D median filter techniques produce similar dose metrics. Results suggest that the accuracy of dose distributions for permanent implant lung brachytherapy is improved by applying lung-constrained tissue assignment schemes to metallic artifact corrected images.