Feasibility study of patient‐specific dose verification in proton therapy utilizing positron emission tomography (PET) and generative adversarial network (GAN)
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PURPOSE: Online dose verification based on proton-induced positron emitters is a promising strategy for quality assurance in proton therapy. Because of the nonlinear correlation between dose and the activity distributions, a machine learning-based approach was developed to establish their relationship. METHODS: Simulations were carried out using a pencil beam scanning system and a computed tomography (CT) image-based phantom. A DiscoGAN model was developed to perform dose verification for both central and off-center lines. Besides the activity as input, HU information from CT images and stopping power (SP) prior were incorporated as auxiliary features for the model. The performance was quantitatively studied in terms of mean absolute error (MAE) and mean relative error (MRE), under different signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs). In addition to a dataset comprising monoenergetic beams, two additional datasets were generated to evaluate the model's generalization capability: five reconstructed PET images based on an in-beam PET system and a dataset comprising spread-out Bragg peaks (SOBPs). RESULTS: The feasibility of dose verification was successfully demonstrated for all three datasets. For the monoenergetic case (i.e., raw activity of positron emitters), the MRE is found to be <1% for the central lines and 5% for the off-center lines, respectively. The range uncertainty is found to be less than 1 mm. The prediction based on five PET images, which take into account the detection of 511-keV photons and image reconstruction, yields slightly inferior performance. For the SOBP case, the MRE of the center lines is found to be <3% and the range uncertainty is <1 mm. The inclusion of anatomical information (HU and SP) improves both accuracy and generalization of the DiscoGAN model. CONCLUSION: The combination of proton-induced positron emitters, in-beam PET, and machine learning may become a useful tool allowing for patient-specific online dose verification in proton therapy.
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