Purpose: 4D cone-beam CT (CBCT) has potential applications in soft tissue alignment and tumor motion verification at the time of radiation treatment. However, prominent streak artifacts with conventional image reconstructions have limited its clinical use and alternative reconstructions are generally too computationally expensive for the time available. We propose an iterative volume of interest based (I4D VOI) reconstruction technique, where 4D reconstruction is only performed within a VOI, to limit streak artifacts with limited added computation time. Methods: The I4D VOI technique is compared to standard cone-beam filtered back projection (FDK), an FDK VOI technique, and unconstrained total variation (TV) minimization by comparing tumor motion quantification errors and image quality. 14 long CBCT scans (6.5 to 12 min) of patients receiving radiation treatment for lung cancer were used for the comparison. Rigid registration between phase images of FDK reconstructions using all projections were used to quantify the gold standard motion. Projections were removed to simulate 2 minute scans and these new projection sets were used for each of the test reconstructions. Results: Excluding two patients where registration failed, the average root mean square (RMS) error for each method was as follows: 1.5 ± 0.2 mm for FDK, 1.4 ± 0.2 mm for FDK VOI, 1.3 ± 0.2 mm for I4D VOI, 1.7 ± 0.4 mm for low regularization TV minimization, and 1.1 ± 0.2 mm for high regularization TV minimization. No significant difference was observed between RMS error for I4D VOI and the other methods, except for unsmoothed FDK VOI (P = 0.02). An increase in RMS error difference between I4D VOI and smoothed FDK VOI was observed going from 2 min to 1 min scans (0.1 mm to 0.3 mm, P = 0.20 to P = 0.09). Conclusions: I4D VOI and FDK VOI reconstruction measured tumor trajectories with equivalent accuracy as TV minimization with improved bony anatomy image quality and computation time (I4D VOI was approximately 15 and 95 times faster than low and high regularization TV minimization, respectively). Within the VOI, streak artifact reduction compared to FDK VOI may be beneficial for tumor visualization and motion measurement, but requires further study.
- 4D CBCT
- cone-beam CT
- image guided radiation therapy
- image reconstruction
- lung cancer