Dual Energy CT as a Foundation for Proton Therapy Treatmen Planning - A pilot study

University essay from Umeå universitet/Institutionen för fysik

Abstract: The treatment plan for radiation therapy with protons is based on images from a computed tomography (CT) scanner. This is problematic since the photons in the x-ray beam from the CT scanner and the protons are affected differently by the tissue in the patient, which introduce an uncertainty in the track length of the protons. The hypothesis of this study is that a new generation of CT scanners (DECT), with the capacity to simultaneously scan the patient with two photon spectra of different mean energy, will improve the tissue characterisation and which in turn reduce the uncertainty in the track length of the protons. In this study, the accuracy and precision of a DECT-based method from the literature is compared to the conventional calibration method used today at the University clinics in Sweden to relate the attenuation of the photon beam to the slowing down of the protons. The methods are tested on CT images of a phantom, a plastic body containing tissue equivalent plastic inserts of known elemental composition. The results turned out to be inconclusive as there were large uncertainties in the measurements. The method has potential, as has been shown in the literature, but there are many questions that need to be answered before the method is ready to be implemented at the clinic.

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