Comprehensive analysis of proton range uncertainties related to stopping-power-ratio estimation using dual-energy CT imaging

B. Li, H. C. Lee, X. Duan, C. Shen, L. Zhou, X. Jia, M. Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


The dual-energy CT-based (DECT) approach holds promise in reducing the overall uncertainty in proton stopping-power-ratio (SPR) estimation as compared to the conventional stoichiometric calibration approach. The objective of this study was to analyze the factors contributing to uncertainty in SPR estimation using the DECT-based approach and to derive a comprehensive estimate of the range uncertainty associated with SPR estimation in treatment planning. Two state-of-the-art DECT-based methods were selected and implemented on a Siemens SOMATOM Force DECT scanner. The uncertainties were first divided into five independent categories. The uncertainty associated with each category was estimated for lung, soft and bone tissues separately. A single composite uncertainty estimate was eventually determined for three tumor sites (lung, prostate and head-and-neck) by weighting the relative proportion of each tissue group for that specific site. The uncertainties associated with the two selected DECT methods were found to be similar, therefore the following results applied to both methods. The overall uncertainty (1σ) in SPR estimation with the DECT-based approach was estimated to be 3.8%, 1.2% and 2.0% for lung, soft and bone tissues, respectively. The dominant factor contributing to uncertainty in the DECT approach was the imaging uncertainties, followed by the DECT modeling uncertainties. Our study showed that the DECT approach can reduce the overall range uncertainty to approximately 2.2% (2σ) in clinical scenarios, in contrast to the previously reported 1%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7056-7074
Number of pages19
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number17
StatePublished - Aug 9 2017


  • dual-energy computed tomography
  • proton stopping power ratio
  • proton therapy
  • range uncertainty
  • treatment planning


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