MR-guided radiotherapy (MRgRT) systems provide excellent soft tissue imaging immediately prior to and in real time during radiation delivery for cancer treatment. However, 2D cine MRI often has limited spatial resolution due to high temporal resolution. This work applies a super resolution machine learning framework to 3.5 mm pixel edge length, low resolution (LR), sagittal 2D cine MRI images acquired on a MRgRT system to generate 0.9 mm pixel edge length, super resolution (SR), images originally acquired at 4 frames per second (FPS). LR images were collected from 50 pancreatic cancer patients treated on a ViewRay MR-LINAC. SR images were evaluated using three methods. 1) The first method utilized intrinsic image quality metrics for evaluation. 2) The second used relative metrics including edge detection and structural similarity index (SSIM). 3) Finally, automatically generated tumor contours were created on both low resolution and super resolution images to evaluate target delineation and compared with DICE and SSIM. Intrinsic image quality metrics all had statistically significant improvements for SR images versus LR images, with mean (±1 SD) BRISQUE scores of 29.65 ± 2.98 and 42.48 ± 0.98 for SR and LR, respectively. SR images showed good agreement with LR images in SSIM evaluation, indicating there was not significant distortion of the images. Comparison of LR and SR images with paired high resolution (HR) 3D images showed that SR images had a mean (±1 SD) SSIM value of 0.633 ± 0.063 and LR a value of 0.587 ± 0.067 (p = 0.05). Contours generated on SR images were also more robust to noise addition than those generated on LR images. This study shows that super resolution with a machine learning framework can generate high spatial resolution images from 4fps low spatial resolution cine MRI acquired on the ViewRay MR-LINAC while maintaining tumor contour quality and without significant acquisition or post processing delay.
- Cine MRI
- Pancreatic cancer