Development and evaluation of a novel MR-compatible pelvic end-to-end phantom.
Journal of applied clinical medical physics
MR-only treatment planning and MR-IGRT leverage MRI's powerful soft tissue contrast for high-precision radiation therapy. However, anthropomorphic MR-compatible phantoms are currently limited. This work describes the development and evaluation of a custom-designed, modular, pelvic end-to-end (PETE) MR-compatible phantom to benchmark MR-only and MR-IGRT workflows. For construction considerations, subject data were assessed for phantom/skeletal geometry and internal organ kinematics to simulate average male pelvis anatomy. Various materials for the bone, bladder, and rectum were evaluated for utility within the phantom. Once constructed, PETE underwent CT-SIM, MR-Linac, and MR-SIM imaging to qualitatively assess organ visibility. Scans were acquired with various bladder and rectal volumes to assess component interactions, filling capabilities, and filling reproducibility via volume and centroid differences. PETE simulates average male pelvis anatomy and comprises an acrylic body oval (height/width = 23.0/38.1 cm) and a cast-mold urethane skeleton, with silicone balloons simulating bladder and rectum, a silicone sponge prostate, and hydrophilic poly(vinyl alcohol) foam to simulate fat/tissue separation between organs. Access ports enable retrofitting the phantom with other inserts including point/film-based dosimetry options. Acceptable contrast was achievable in CT-SIM and MR-Linac images. However, the bladder was challenging to distinguish from background in CT-SIM. The desired contrast for T1-weighted and T2-weighted MR-SIM (dark and bright bladders, respectively) was achieved. Rectum and bone exhibited no MR signal. Inputted volumes differed by <5 and <10 mL from delineated rectum (CT-SIM) and bladder (MR-SIM) volumes. Increasing bladder and rectal volumes induced organ displacements and shape variations. Reproduced volumes differed by <4.5 mL, with centroid displacements <1.4 mm. A point dose measurement with an MR-compatible ion chamber in an MR-Linac was within 1.5% of expected. A novel, modular phantom was developed with suitable materials and properties that accurately and reproducibly simulate status changes with multiple dosimetry options. Future work includes integrating more realistic organ models to further expand phantom options.