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J appl clin med phys


Model-based iterative reconstruction (MBIR) reduces CT imaging dose while maintaining image quality. However, MBIR reduces noise while preserving edges which may impact intensity-based tasks such as auto-segmentation. This work evaluates the sensitivity of an auto-contouring prostate atlas across multiple MBIR reconstruction protocols and benchmarks the results against filtered back projection (FBP). Images were created from raw projection data for 11 prostate cancer cases using FBP and nine different MBIR reconstructions (3 protocols/3 noise reduction levels) yielding 10 reconstructions/patient. Five bony structures, bladder, rectum, prostate, and seminal vesicles (SVs) were segmented using an auto-segmentation pipeline that renders 3D binary masks for analysis. Performance was evaluated for volume percent difference (VPD) and Dice similarity coefficient (DSC), using FBP as the gold standard. Nonparametric Friedman tests plus post hoc all pairwise comparisons were employed to test for significant differences (P < 0.05) for soft tissue organs and protocol/level combinations. A physician performed qualitative grading of 396 MBIR contours across the prostate, bladder, SVs, and rectum in comparison to FBP using a six-point scale. MBIR contours agreed with FBP for bony anatomy (DSC ≥ 0.98), bladder (DSC ≥ 0.94, VPD < 8.5%), and prostate (DSC = 0.94 ± 0.03, VPD = 4.50 ± 4.77% (range: 0.07-26.39%). Increased variability was observed for rectum (VPD = 7.50 ± 7.56% and DSC = 0.90 ± 0.08) and SVs (VPD and DSC of 8.23 ± 9.86% range (0.00-35.80%) and 0.87 ± 0.11, respectively). Over the all protocol/level comparisons, a significant difference was observed for the prostate VPD between BSPL1 and BSTL2 (adjusted P-value = 0.039). Nevertheless, 300 of 396 (75.8%) of the four soft tissue structures using MBIR were graded as equivalent or better than FBP, suggesting that MBIR offered potential improvements in auto-segmentation performance when compared to FBP. Future work may involve tuning organ-specific MBIR parameters to further improve auto-segmentation performance. Running title: Impact of CT Reconstruction Algorithm on Auto-segmentation Performance.

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