A simulated comparison of lung tumor target verification using stereoscopic tomosynthesis or radiography

Scott S. Hsieh, Lydia W. Ng, Minsong Cao, Percy Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Mobile lung tumors are increasingly being treated with ablative radiotherapy, for which precise motion management is essential. In-room stereoscopic radiography systems are able to guide ablative radiotherapy for stationary cranial lesions but not optimally for lung tumors unless fiducial markers are inserted. We propose augmenting stereoscopic radiographic systems with multiple small x-ray sources to provide the capability of imaging with stereoscopic, single frame tomosynthesis. Methods: In single frame tomosynthesis, nine x-ray sources are placed in a 3 × 3 configuration and energized simultaneously. The beams from these sources are collimated so that they converge on the tumor and then diverge to illuminate nine non-overlapping sectors on the detector. These nine sector images are averaged together and filtered to create the tomosynthesis effect. Single frame tomosynthesis is intended to be an alternative imaging mode for existing stereoscopic systems with a field of view that is three times smaller and a temporal resolution equal to the frame rate of the detector. We simulated stereoscopic tomosynthesis and radiography using Monte Carlo techniques on 60 patients with early-stage lung cancer from the NSCLC-Radiomics dataset. Two board-certified radiation oncologists reviewed these simulated images and rated them on a 4-point scale (1: tumor not visible; 2: tumor visible but inadequate for motion management; 3: tumor visible and adequate for motion management; 4: tumor visibility excellent). Each tumor was independently presented four times (two viewing angles from radiography and two viewing angles from tomosynthesis) in a blinded fashion over two reading sessions. Results: The fraction of tumors that were rated as adequate or excellent for motion management (scores 3 or 4) from at least one viewing angle was 53% using radiography and 90% using tomosynthesis. From both viewing angles, the corresponding fractions were 7% for radiography and 48% for tomosynthesis. Readers agreed exactly on 62% of images and within 1 point on 98% of images. The acquisition technique was estimated to be 75 mAs at 120 kVp per treatment fraction assuming one verification image per breath, approximately one order of magnitude less than a standard dose cone beam CT. Conclusions: Stereoscopic tomosynthesis may provide a noninvasive, low dose, intrafraction motion verification technique for lung tumors treated by ablative radiotherapy. The system architecture is compatible with real-time video capture at 30 frames per second. Simulations suggest that most, but not all, lung tumors can be adequately visualized from at least one viewing angle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3041-3052
Number of pages12
JournalMedical physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022


  • image guided radiotherapy
  • lung SBRT
  • tomosynthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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