• Evaluation of computed tomography scanners for feasibility of using averaged hounsfield unit-to-stopping power ratio calibration curve

      Chung, Heeteak; Mossahebi, Sina; Gopal, Arun; Lasio, Giovanni; Xu, Huijun; Polf, Jerimy (Allen Press, 2018-07-23)
      Purpose: The purpose of this study was to quantify the variability of stoichiometric calibration curves for different computed tomography (CT) scanners and determine whether an averaged Hounsfield unit (HU)-to-stopping power ratio (SPR) calibration curve can be used across multiple CT scanners. Materials and Methods: Five CT scanners were used to scan an electron density phantom to establish HU values of known material plugs. A stoichiometric calibration curve was calculated for CT scanners and for the average curve. Animal tissue surrogates were used to compare the water-equivalent thickness (WET) of the animal tissue surrogates calculated by the treatment planning system (TPS) and the WET values measured with a multilayered ionization chamber. The calibration curves were optimized to reduce the percentage of difference between measured and TPS-calculated WET values. A second set of tissue surrogates was then used to evaluate the overall range of uncertainty for the optimized CT-specific and average calibration curves. Results: Overall, the average variation in HU for all 6 calibration curves before optimization was 8.3 HU. For both the averaged and CT-specific calibrations, the root mean square error (RMSE) of the percentage of difference between TPS-calculated and measured WET values before optimization was 4%. The RMSE of the percentage of difference for the TPS-calculated and multilayered ionization chamber measured WET values after the optimization for both averaged and CT-specific calibration curves was reduced to less than 1.5%. The overall RMSE of the TPS and the measured WET percentage of difference after optimization was 2.1% for both averaged and CT-specific calibration curves. Conclusion: Averaged CT calibration curves can be used to map the HU-to-SPR in TPSs, if the variations in HU values across all scanners is relatively small. Performing tissue surrogate optimization of the HU-to-SPR calibration curve has been shown to reduce the overall uncertainty of the calibration for averaged and CT-specific calibration curves and is recommended, especially if an averaged HU-to-SPR calibration curve is used. © 2018 International Journal of Particle Therapy.