Fifty-seventh annual meeting of the American association of physicists in medicine
WE-EF-303-10: Single- Detector Proton Radiography as a Portal Imaging Equivalent for Proton Therapy
In proton therapy, patient alignment is of critical importance due to the sensitivity of the proton range to tissue heterogeneities. Traditionally proton radiography is used for verification of the water-equivalent path length (WEPL), which dictates the depth protons reach. In this work we propose its use for alignment. Additionally, many new proton centers have cone-beam computed tomography in place of beamline X-ray imaging and so proton radiography offers a unique patient alignment verification similar to portal imaging in photon therapy.
Proton radiographs of a CIRS head phantom were acquired using the Beam Imaging System (BIS) (IBA, Louvain-la-Neuve) in a horizontal beamline. A scattered beam was produced using a small, dedicated, range modulator (RM) wheel fabricated out of aluminum. The RM wheel was rotated slowly (20 sec/rev) using a stepper motor to compensate for the frame rate of the BIS (120 ms). Dose rate functions (DRFs) over two RM wheel rotations were acquired. Calibration was made with known thicknesses of homogeneous solid water. For each pixel the time width, skewness and kurtosis of the DRFs were computed. The time width was used to compute the object WEPL. In the heterogeneous phantom, the excess skewness and excess kurtosis (i.e. difference from homogeneous cases) were computed and assessed for suitability for patient set up.
The technique allowed for the simultaneous production of images that can be used for WEPL verification, showing few internal details, and excess skewness and kurtosis images that can be used for soft tissue alignment. These latter images highlight areas where range mixing has occurred, correlating with phantom heterogeneities.
The excess skewness and kurtosis images contain details that are not visible in the WET images. These images, unique to the time-resolved proton radiographic method, could be used for patient set up according to soft tissues.