To develop a respiration-phase-matched digital tomosynthesis (DTS) technique to monitor moving targets, and to evaluate its accuracy for various imaging parameters and anatomical characteristics.Methods:
Previously developed 3D-DTS techniques, registering onboard DTS (OB-DTS, reconstructed from onboard projections) to reference DTS (R-DTS, reconstructed from DRRs of 3D reference CT), are inadequate to monitor moving targets. The authors’ proposed respiration-phase-matched DTS technique registers OB-DTS to R-DTS reconstructed from DRRs generated by the same phase images of 4D reference CT as the corresponding onboard projections. To evaluate the improved accuracy of the author's technique, the authors performed thoracic phantom studies using (1) simulation with the 4D digital extended-cardiac-torso (XCAT) phantom, and (2) experiments with an anthropomorphic motion phantom. The studies were performed for various: respiratory cycle (RC), scan angle, and fraction of RC contained therein. Also, the authors assessed the accuracy of their technique relative to target size/location, and respiration inconsistencies from the R-DTS to OB-DTS.Results:
In both simulation and experimental studies, the respiration-phase-matched DTS technique is significantly more accurate in determining moving target positions. For 324 different scenarios simulated by XCAT, the respiration-phase-matched DTS technique localizes the 3D target position to errors of 1.07 ± 0.57 mm (mean ± S.D.), as compared to (a) 2.58 ± 1.37 and (b) 7.37 ± 4.18 mm, for 3D-DTS using 3D reference CT of (a) average intensity projection and (b) free-breathing CT. For 60 scenarios evaluated through experimental study, the uncertainties corresponding to those above are 1.24 ± 0.87, 2.42 ± 1.80, and 5.77 ± 6.45 mm, respectively. For a given scan angle, the accuracy of respiration-phase-matched DTS technique is less dependent on RC and the fraction of RC included in the scan. Increasing scan angle improves its accuracy. For different target locations, the targets near the chest wall or in the middle of lung provide higher registration accuracy compared to those near the mediastinum and diaphragm. Larger targets provide higher registration accuracy than small targets. Different respiratory cycle inconsistencies from R-DTS to OB-DTS minimally affect the registration accuracy. Increasing the respiratory amplitude inconsistencies will decrease the accuracy.Conclusions:
The respiration-phase-matched DTS is more accurate and robust in determining moving target positions than 3D-DTS. It has potential application in pretreatment setup, post-treatment analysis, and intrafractional target verification.