Article open access publication

Inter-centre variability of CT-based stopping-power prediction in particle therapy: Survey-based evaluation

Physics and Imaging in Radiation Oncology, Elsevier, ISSN 2405-6316

Volume 6, 2018

DOI:10.1016/j.phro.2018.04.006, Dimensions: pub.1103678533,



  1. (1) Aarhus University Hospital, grid.154185.c, Central Denmark Region
  2. (2) Essen University Hospital, grid.410718.b
  3. (3) The Skandion Clinic, Uppsala, Sweden
  4. (4) Mayo Clinic, grid.66875.3a
  5. (5) Heidelberg Ion-Beam Therapy Center (HIT), Medical Physics, Heidelberg, Germany
  6. (6) Department of Radiation Oncology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
  7. (7) EBG MedAustron GmbH, Wiener Neustadt, Austria
  8. (8) Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences, grid.418860.3
  9. (9) Paul Scherrer Institute, grid.5991.4
  10. (10) Institute Curie, grid.418596.7
  11. (11) National Centre of Oncological Hadrontherapy, grid.499294.b
  12. (12) University of Pennsylvania, grid.25879.31
  13. (13) Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, grid.40602.30
  14. (14) TU Dresden, grid.4488.0


Background and purpose Stopping-power ratios (SPRs) are used in particle therapy to calculate particle range in patients. The heuristic CT-to-SPR conversion (Hounsfield Look-Up-Table, HLUT), needed for treatment planning, depends on CT-scan and reconstruction parameters as well as the specific HLUT definition. To assess inter-centre differences in these parameters, we performed a survey-based qualitative evaluation, as a first step towards better standardisation of CT-based SPR derivation. Materials and methods A questionnaire was sent to twelve particle therapy centres (ten from Europe and two from USA). It asked for details on CT scanners, image acquisition and reconstruction, definition of the HLUT, body-region specific HLUT selection, investigations of beam-hardening and experimental validations of the HLUT. Technological improvements were rated regarding their potential to improve SPR accuracy. Results Scan parameters and HLUT definition varied widely. Either the stoichiometric method (eight centres) or a tissue-substitute-only HLUT definition (three centres) was used. One centre combined both methods. The number of HLUT line segments varied widely between two and eleven. Nine centres had investigated influence of beam-hardening, often including patient-size dependence. Ten centres had validated their HLUT experimentally, with very different validation schemes. Most centres deemed dual-energy CT promising for improving SPR accuracy. Conclusions Large inter-centre variability was found in implementation of CT scans, image reconstruction and especially in specification of the CT-to-SPR conversion. A future standardisation would reduce time-intensive institution-specific efforts and variations in treatment quality. Due to the interdependency of multiple parameters, no conclusion can be drawn on the derived SPR accuracy and its inter-centre variability.

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