Purpose: Locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients may experience dramatic changes in anatomy during radiotherapy and could benefit from adaptive radiotherapy (ART). Deformable image registration (DIR) is necessary to accurately accumulate dose during plan adaptation, but current algorithms perform poorly in the presence of large geometric changes, namely atelectasis resolution. The goal of this work was to develop a DIR framework, named Consistent Anatomy in Lung Parametric imagE Registration (CALIPER), to handle large geometric changes in the thorax. Methods: Registrations were performed on pairs of baseline and mid-treatment CT datasets of NSCLC patients presenting with atelectasis at the start of treatment. Pairs were classified based on atelectasis volume change as either full, partial, or no resolution. The evaluated registration algorithms consisted of several combinations of a hybrid intensity- and feature-based similarity cost function to investigate the ability to simultaneously match healthy lung parenchyma and adjacent atelectasis. These components of the cost function included a mass-preserving intensity cost in the lung parenchyma, use of filters to enhance vascular structures in the lung parenchyma, manually delineated lung lobes as labels, and several intensity cost functions to model atelectasis change. Registration error was quantified with landmark-based target registration error and post-registration alignment of atelectatic lobes. Results: The registrations using both lobe labels and vasculature enhancement in addition to intensity of the CT images were found to have the highest accuracy. Of these registrations, the mean (SD) of mean landmark error across patients was 2.50 (1.16) mm, 2.80 (0.70) mm, and 2.04 (0.13) mm for no change, partial resolution, and full atelectasis resolution, respectively. The mean (SD) atelectatic lobe Dice similarity coefficient was 0.91 (0.08), 0.90 (0.08), and 0.89 (0.04), respectively, for the same groups. Registration accuracy was comparable to healthy lung registrations of current state-of-the-art algorithms reported in literature. Conclusions: The CALIPER algorithm developed in this work achieves accurate image registration for challenging cases involving large geometric and topological changes in NSCLC patients, a requirement for enabling ART in this patient group.
- deformable image registration