J Digit Imaging 2015 Dec;28(6):755-60
Department of Radiology, The University of Chicago, 5841 S. Maryland Ave., MC 2026, Chicago, IL, 60637, USA.
We evaluated the image registration accuracy achieved using two deformable registration algorithms when radiation-induced normal tissue changes were present between serial computed tomography (CT) scans. Two thoracic CT scans were collected for each of 24 patients who underwent radiation therapy (RT) treatment for lung cancer, eight of whom experienced radiologically evident normal tissue damage between pre- and post-RT scan acquisition. For each patient, 100 landmark point pairs were manually placed in anatomically corresponding locations between each pre- and post-RT scan. Each post-RT scan was then registered to the pre-RT scan using (1) the Plastimatch demons algorithm and (2) the Fraunhofer MEVIS algorithm. The registration accuracy for each scan pair was evaluated by comparing the distance between landmark points that were manually placed in the post-RT scans and points that were automatically mapped from pre- to post-RT scans using the displacement vector fields output by the two registration algorithms. For both algorithms, the registration accuracy was significantly decreased when normal tissue damage was present in the post-RT scan. Using the Plastimatch algorithm, registration accuracy was 2.4 mm, on average, in the absence of radiation-induced damage and 4.6 mm, on average, in the presence of damage. When the Fraunhofer MEVIS algorithm was instead used, registration errors decreased to 1.3 mm, on average, in the absence of damage and 2.5 mm, on average, when damage was present. This work demonstrated that the presence of lung tissue changes introduced following RT treatment for lung cancer can significantly decrease the registration accuracy achieved using deformable registration.