Use of regularized principal component analysis to model anatomical changes during head and neck radiation therapy for treatment adaptation and response assessment

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Medical physics


PURPOSE: To develop standard (SPCA) and regularized (RPCA) principal component analysis models of anatomical changes from daily cone beam CTs (CBCTs) of head and neck (H&N) patients and assess their potential use in adaptive radiation therapy, and for extracting quantitative information for treatment response assessment.

METHODS: Planning CT images of ten H&N patients were artificially deformed to create "digital phantom" images, which modeled systematic anatomical changes during radiation therapy. Artificial deformations closely mirrored patients' actual deformations and were interpolated to generate 35 synthetic CBCTs, representing evolving anatomy over 35 fractions. Deformation vector fields (DVFs) were acquired between pCT and synthetic CBCTs (i.e., digital phantoms) and between pCT and clinical CBCTs. Patient-specific SPCA and RPCA models were built from these synthetic and clinical DVF sets. EigenDVFs (EDVFs) having the largest eigenvalues were hypothesized to capture the major anatomical deformations during treatment.

RESULTS: Principal component analysis (PCA) models achieve variable results, depending on the size and location of anatomical change. Random changes prevent or degrade PCA's ability to detect underlying systematic change. RPCA is able to detect smaller systematic changes against the background of random fraction-to-fraction changes and is therefore more successful than SPCA at capturing systematic changes early in treatment. SPCA models were less successful at modeling systematic changes in clinical patient images, which contain a wider range of random motion than synthetic CBCTs, while the regularized approach was able to extract major modes of motion.

CONCLUSIONS: Leading EDVFs from the both PCA approaches have the potential to capture systematic anatomical change during H&N radiotherapy when systematic changes are large enough with respect to random fraction-to-fraction changes. In all cases the RPCA approach appears to be more reliable at capturing systematic changes, enabling dosimetric consequences to be projected once trends are established early in a treatment course, or based on population models.

Medical Subject Headings

Cone-Beam Computed Tomography; Head and Neck Neoplasms; Humans; Models, Biological; Principal Component Analysis; Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated; Treatment Outcome

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