Accuracy of radiotherapy dose calculations based on cone-beam CT: comparison of deformable registration and image correction based methods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Radiotherapy dose calculations based on cone-beam CT (CBCT) images can be inaccurate due to unreliable Hounsfield units (HU) in the CBCT. Deformable image registration of planning CT images to CBCT, and direct correction of CBCT image values are two methods proposed to allow heterogeneity corrected dose calculations based on CBCT. In this paper we compare the accuracy and robustness of these two approaches. CBCT images for 44 patients were used including pelvis, lung and head & neck sites. CBCT HU were corrected using a 'shading correction' algorithm and via deformable registration of planning CT to CBCT using either Elastix or Niftyreg. Radiotherapy dose distributions were re-calculated with heterogeneity correction based on the corrected CBCT and several relevant dose metrics for target and OAR volumes were calculated. Accuracy of CBCT based dose metrics was determined using an 'override ratio' method where the ratio of the dose metric to that calculated on a bulk-density assigned version of the same image is assumed to be constant for each patient, allowing comparison to the patient's planning CT as a gold standard. Similar performance is achieved by shading corrected CBCT and both deformable registration algorithms, with mean and standard deviation of dose metric error less than 1% for all sites studied. For lung images, use of deformed CT leads to slightly larger standard deviation of dose metric error than shading corrected CBCT with more dose metric errors greater than 2% observed (7% versus 1%).

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article number065003
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Early online date20 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2018