BACKGROUND: In this study we have evaluated the accuracy of automatic, deformable structure propagation from planning CT and MR scans for daily online plan adaptation for MR linac (MRL) treatment, which is an important element to minimize re-planning time and reduce the risk of misrepresenting the target due to this time pressure.
METHODS: For 12 high-risk prostate cancer patients treated to the prostate and pelvic lymph nodes, target structures and organs at risk were delineated on both planning MR and CT scans and propagated using deformable registration to three T2 weighted MR scans acquired during the treatment course. Generated structures were evaluated against manual delineations on the repeated scans using intra-observer variation obtained on the planning MR as ground truth.
RESULTS: MR-to-MR propagated structures had significant less median surface distance and larger Dice similarity index compared to CT-MR propagation. The MR-MR propagation uncertainty was similar in magnitude to the intra-observer variation. Visual inspection of the deformed structures revealed that small anatomical differences between organs in source and destination image sets were generally well accounted for while large differences were not.
CONCLUSION: Both CT and MR based propagations require manual editing, but the current results show that MR-to-MR propagated structures require fewer corrections for high risk prostate cancer patients treated at a high-field MRL.