Journal of applied clinical medical physics 2018 02 23() doi 10.1002/acm2.12296
Validating deformable multimodality image registrations is challenging due to intrinsic differences in signal characteristics and their spatial intensity distributions. Evaluating multimodality registrations using these spatial intensity distributions is also complicated by the fact that these metrics are often employed in the registration optimization process. This work evaluates rigid and deformable image registrations of the prostate in between diagnostic-MRI and radiation treatment planning-CT by utilizing a planning-MRI after fiducial marker placement as a surrogate. The surrogate allows for the direct quantitative analysis that can be difficult in the multimodality domain.
For thirteen prostate patients, T2 images were acquired at two different time points, the first several weeks prior to planning (diagnostic-MRI) and the second on the same day as the planning-CT (planning-MRI). The diagnostic-MRI was deformed to the planning-CT utilizing a commercially available algorithm which synthesizes a deformable image registration (DIR) algorithm from local rigid registrations. The planning-MRI provided an independent surrogate for the planning-CT for assessing registration accuracy using image similarity metrics, including Pearson correlation and normalized mutual information (NMI). A local analysis was performed by looking only within the prostate, proximal seminal vesicles, penile bulb, and combined areas.
The planning-MRI provided an excellent surrogate for the planning-CT with residual error in fiducial alignment between the two datasets being submillimeter, 0.78 mm. DIR was superior to the rigid registration in 11 of 13 cases demonstrating a 27.37% improvement in NMI (P < 0.009) within a regional area surrounding the prostate and associated critical organs. Pearson correlations showed similar results, demonstrating a 13.02% improvement (P < 0.013). CONCLUSION
By utilizing the planning-MRI as a surrogate for the planning-CT, an independent evaluation of registration accuracy is possible. This population provides an ideal testing ground for MRI to CT DIR by obviating the need for multimodality comparisons which are inherently more challenging.