Systematic study of target localization for bioluminescence tomography guided radiation therapy
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PURPOSE: To overcome the limitation of CT/cone-beam CT (CBCT) in guiding radiation for soft tissue targets, the authors developed a spectrally resolved bioluminescence tomography (BLT) system for the small animal radiation research platform. The authors systematically assessed the performance of the BLT system in terms of target localization and the ability to resolve two neighboring sources in simulations, tissue-mimicking phantom, and in vivo environments. METHODS: Multispectral measurements acquired in a single projection were used for the BLT reconstruction. The incomplete variables truncated conjugate gradient algorithm with an iterative permissible region shrinking strategy was employed as the optimization scheme to reconstruct source distributions. Simulation studies were conducted for single spherical sources with sizes from 0.5 to 3 mm radius at depth of 3-12 mm. The same configuration was also applied for the double source simulation with source separations varying from 3 to 9 mm. Experiments were performed in a standalone BLT/CBCT system. Two self-illuminated sources with 3 and 4.7 mm separations placed inside a tissue-mimicking phantom were chosen as the test cases. Live mice implanted with single-source at 6 and 9 mm depth, two sources at 3 and 5 mm separation at depth of 5 mm, or three sources in the abdomen were also used to illustrate the localization capability of the BLT system for multiple targets in vivo. RESULTS: For simulation study, approximate 1 mm accuracy can be achieved at localizing center of mass (CoM) for single-source and grouped CoM for double source cases. For the case of 1.5 mm radius source, a common tumor size used in preclinical study, their simulation shows that for all the source separations considered, except for the 3 mm separation at 9 and 12 mm depth, the two neighboring sources can be resolved at depths from 3 to 12 mm. Phantom experiments illustrated that 2D bioluminescence imaging failed to distinguish two sources, but BLT can provide 3D source localization with approximately 1 mm accuracy. The in vivo results are encouraging that 1 and 1.7 mm accuracy can be attained for the single-source case at 6 and 9 mm depth, respectively. For the 2 sources in vivo study, both sources can be distinguished at 3 and 5 mm separations, and approximately 1 mm localization accuracy can also be achieved. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated that their multispectral BLT/CBCT system could be potentially applied to localize and resolve multiple sources at wide range of source sizes, depths, and separations. The average accuracy of localizing CoM for single-source and grouped CoM for double sources is approximately 1 mm except deep-seated target. The information provided in this study can be instructive to devise treatment margins for BLT-guided irradiation. These results also suggest that the 3D BLT system could guide radiation for the situation with multiple targets, such as metastatic tumor models.