4D cone beam CT (4D-CBCT) has been utilized in radiation therapy to provide 4D image guidance in lung and upper abdomen area. However, clinical application of 4D-CBCT is currently limited due to the long scan time and low image quality. The purpose of this paper is to develop a new 4D-CBCT reconstruction method that restores volumetric images based on the 1-min scan data acquired with a standard 3D-CBCT protocol.
The model optimizes a deformation vector field that deforms a patient-specific planning CT (p-CT), so that the calculated 4D-CBCT projections match measurements. A forward-backward splitting (FBS) method is invented to solve the optimization problem. It splits the original problem into two well-studied subproblems, i.e., image reconstruction and deformable image registration. By iteratively solving the two subproblems, FBS gradually yields correct deformation information, while maintaining high image quality. The whole workflow is implemented on a graphic-processing-unit to improve efficiency. Comprehensive evaluations have been conducted on a moving phantom and three real patient cases regarding the accuracy and quality of the reconstructed images, as well as the algorithm robustness and efficiency.
The proposed algorithm reconstructs 4D-CBCT images from highly under-sampled projection data acquired with 1-min scans. Regarding the anatomical structure location accuracy, 0.204 mm average differences and 0.484 mm maximum difference are found for the phantom case, and the maximum differences of 0.3–0.5 mm for patients 1–3 are observed. As for the image quality, intensity errors below 5 and 20 HU compared to the planning CT are achieved for the phantom and the patient cases, respectively. Signal-noise-ratio values are improved by 12.74 and 5.12 times compared to results from FDK algorithm using the 1-min data and 4-min data, respectively. The computation time of the algorithm on a NVIDIA GTX590 card is 1–1.5 min per phase.
High-quality 4D-CBCT imaging based on the clinically standard 1-min 3D CBCT scanning protocol is feasible via the proposed hybrid reconstruction algorithm.