An adaptive MR-CT registration method for MRI-guided prostate cancer radiotherapy

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Physics in medicine and biology


Magnetic Resonance images (MRI) have superior soft tissue contrast compared with CT images. Therefore, MRI might be a better imaging modality to differentiate the prostate from surrounding normal organs. Methods to accurately register MRI to simulation CT images are essential, as we transition the use of MRI into the routine clinic setting. In this study, we present a finite element method (FEM) to improve the performance of a commercially available, B-spline-based registration algorithm in the prostate region. Specifically, prostate contours were delineated independently on ten MRI and CT images using the Eclipse treatment planning system. Each pair of MRI and CT images was registered with the B-spline-based algorithm implemented in the VelocityAI system. A bounding box that contains the prostate volume in the CT image was selected and partitioned into a tetrahedral mesh. An adaptive finite element method was then developed to adjust the displacement vector fields (DVFs) of the B-spline-based registrations within the box. The B-spline and FEM-based registrations were evaluated based on the variations of prostate volume and tumor centroid, the unbalanced energy of the generated DVFs, and the clarity of the reconstructed anatomical structures. The results showed that the volumes of the prostate contours warped with the B-spline-based DVFs changed 10.2% on average, relative to the volumes of the prostate contours on the original MR images. This discrepancy was reduced to 1.5% for the FEM-based DVFs. The average unbalanced energy was 2.65 and 0.38 mJ cm(-3), and the prostate centroid deviation was 0.37 and 0.28 cm, for the B-spline and FEM-based registrations, respectively. Different from the B-spline-warped MR images, the FEM-warped MR images have clear boundaries between prostates and bladders, and their internal prostatic structures are consistent with those of the original MR images. In summary, the developed adaptive FEM method preserves the prostate volume during the transformation between the MR and CT images and improves the accuracy of the B-spline registrations in the prostate region. The approach will be valuable for the development of high-quality MRI-guided radiation therapy.

Medical Subject Headings

Algorithms; Finite Element Analysis; Humans; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Male; Models, Statistical; Multimodal Imaging; Prostatic Neoplasms; Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted; Radiotherapy, Image-Guided; Tomography, X-Ray Computed; Urinary Bladder

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