Purpose: Tools to perform regular quality assurance of magnetic resonance image-guided radiotherapy (MRIgRT) systems should ideally be independent of interference from the magnetic fields. Remotely acquired optical Cherenkov imaging-based dosimetry measurements in water were investigated for this purpose, comparing measures of dose accuracy, temporal dynamics, and overall integrated IMRT delivery. Methods: A 40 × 30.5 × 37.5 cm3 water tank doped with 1 g/L of quinine sulfate was imaged using an intensified charge-coupled device (ICCD) to capture the Cherenkov emission while being irradiated by a commercial MRIgRT system (ViewRay™). The ICCD was placed down-bore at the end of the couch, 4 m from treatment isocenter and behind the 5-Gauss line of the 0.35-T MRI. After establishing optimal camera acquisition settings, square beams of increasing size (4.2 × 4.2 cm2, 10.5 × 10.5 cm2, and 14.7 × 14.7 cm2) were imaged at 0.93 frames per second, from an individual cobalt-60 treatment head, to develop projection measures related to percent depth dose (PDD) curves and cross beam profiles (CPB). These Cherenkov-derived measurements were compared to ionization chamber (IC) and radiographic film dosimetry data, as well as simulation data from the treatment planning system (TPS). An intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) commissioning plan from AAPM TG-119 (C4:C-Shape) was also imaged at 2.1 frames per second, and the single linear sum image from 509 s of plan delivery was compared to the dose volume prediction generated by the TPS using gamma index analysis. Results: Analysis of standardized test target images (1024 × 1024 pixels) yielded a pixel resolution of 0.37 mm/pixel. The beam width measured from the Cherenkov image-generated projection CBPs was within 1 mm accuracy when compared to film measurements for all beams. The 502 point measurements (i.e., pixels) of the Cherenkov image-based projection percent depth dose curves (pPDDs) were compared to pPDDs simulated by the treatment planning system (TPS), with an overall average error of 0.60%, 0.56%, and 0.65% for the 4.2, 10.5, and 14.7 cm square beams, respectively. The relationships between pPDDs and central axis PDDs derived from the TPS were used to apply a weighting factor to the Cherenkov pPDD, so that the Cherenkov data could be directly compared to IC PDDs (average error of −0.07%, 0.10%, and −0.01% for the same sized beams, respectively). Finally, the composite image of the TG-119 C4 treatment plan achieved a 95.1% passing rate using 4%/4 mm gamma index agreement criteria between Cherenkov intensity and TPS dose volume data. Conclusions: This is the first examination of Cherenkov-generated pPDDs and pCBPs in an MR-IGRT system. Cherenkov imaging measurements were fast to acquire, and minimal error was observed overall. Cherenkov imaging also provided novel real-time data for IMRT QA. The strengths of this imaging are the rapid data capture ability providing real-time, high spatial resolution data, combined with the remote, noncontact nature of imaging. The biggest limitation of this method is the two-dimensional (2D) projection-based imaging of three-dimensional (3D) dose distributions through the transparent water tank.
- MRI guided radiation therapy