SU-F-T-403: Impact of Dose Reduction for Simulation CT On Radiation Therapy Treatment Planning




To investigate the feasibility of applying ALARA principles to current treatment planning CT scans. The study aims to quantitatively verify lower dose scans does not alter treatment planning.


Gammex 467 tissue characterization phantom with inserts of 14 different materials was scanned at seven different mA levels (30∼300 mA). CT numbers of different inserts were measured. Auto contouring for bone and lung in treatment planning system (Pinnacle) was used to evaluate the effect of CT number accuracy from treatment planning aspect, on the 30 and 300 mA-scanned images. A head CT scan intended for a 3D whole brain radiation treatment was evaluated. Dose calculations were performed on normal scanned images using clinical protocol (120 kVP, Smart mA, maximum 291 mA), and the images with added simulating noise mimicking a 70 mA scan. Plan parameters including isocenter, beam arrangements, block shapes, dose grid size and resolution, and prescriptions were kept the same for these two plans. The calculated monitor units (MUs) for these two plans were compared.


No significant degradation of CT number accuracy was found at lower dose levels from both the phantom scans, and the patient images with added noise. The CT numbers kept consistent when mA is higher than 60 mA. The auto contoured volumes for lung and cortical bone show 0.3% and 0.12% of differences between 30 mA and 300 mA respectively. The two forward plans created on regular and low dose images gave the same calculated MU, and 98.3% of points having <1% of dose difference.


Both phantom and patient studies quantitatively verified low dose CT provides similar quality for treatment planning at 20–25% of regular scan dose. Therefore, there is the potential to optimize simulation CT scan protocol to fulfil the ALARA principle and limit unnecessary radiation exposure to non-targeted tissues.