Original Article

Low dose cone-beam computed tomography reconstruction via hybrid prior contour based total variation regularization (hybrid-PCTV)

Yingxuan Chen, Fang-Fang Yin, Yawei Zhang, You Zhang, Lei Ren


Background: Previously, we developed a prior contour based total variation (PCTV) method to use edge information derived from prior images for edge enhancement in low-dose cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) reconstruction. However, the accuracy of edge enhancement in PCTV is affected by the deformable registration errors and anatomical changes from prior to on-board images. In this study, we develop a hybrid-PCTV method to address this limitation to enhance the robustness and accuracy of the PCTV method.
Methods: Planning-CT is used as prior images and deformably registered with on-board CBCT reconstructed by the edge preserving TV (EPTV) method. Edges derived from planning CT are deformed based on the registered deformation vector fields to generate on-board edges for edge enhancement in PCTV reconstruction. Reference CBCT is reconstructed from the simulated projections of the deformed planning-CT. Image similarity map is then calculated between reference and on-board CBCT using structural similarity index (SSIM) method to estimate local registration accuracy. The hybrid-PCTV method enhances the edge information based on a weighted edge map that combines edges from both PCTV and EPTV methods. Higher weighting is given to PCTV edges at regions with high registration accuracy and to EPTV edges at regions with low registration accuracy. The hybrid-PCTV method was evaluated using both digital extended-cardiac-torso (XCAT) phantom and lung patient data. In XCAT study, breathing amplitude change, tumor shrinkage and new tumor were simulated from CT to CBCT. In the patient study, both simulated and real projections of lung patients were used for reconstruction. Results were compared with both EPTV and PCTV methods.
Results: EPTV led to blurring bony structures due to missing edge information, and PCTV led to blurring tumor edges due to inaccurate edge information caused by errors in the deformable registration. In contrast, hybrid-PCTV enhanced edges of both bone and tumor. In XCAT study using 30 half-fan CBCT projections, compared with ground truth, relative errors (REs) were 1.3%, 1.1% and 0.9% and edge cross-correlation were 0.66, 0.68 and 0.71 for EPTV, PCTV and hybrid-PCTV, respectively. Moreover, in the lung patient data, hybrid-PCTV avoided the wrong edge enhancement in the PCTV method while maintaining enhancements of the correct edges.
Conclusions: Hybrid-PCTV further improved the robustness and accuracy of PCTV by accounting for uncertainties in deformable registration and anatomical changes between prior and onboard images. The accurate edge enhancement in hybrid-PCTV will be valuable for target localization in radiation therapy.

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