A pilot study of highly accelerated 3D MRI in the head and neck position verification for MR-guided radiotherapy

Yihang Zhou, Oi Lei Wong, Kin Yin Cheung, Siu Ki Yu, Jing Yuan


Background: To evaluate the performance of a highly accelerated 3D MRI on inter-fractional positional measurement for MR-guided radiotherapy (MRgRT) in the head and neck (HN).
Methods: Fourteen healthy volunteers received 159 scans on a 1.5 T MR-sim to simulate MRgRT fractions. MRI acquisition included a high-resolution (HQI-MRI, voxel-size =1.05×1.05×1.05 mm3, duration =5 min) and a highly-accelerated low-resolution (true-LQI-MRI, acceleration-factor =9, voxel-size =1.4×1.4×1.4 mm3, duration =86 s) T1w spin-echo sequence (TR/TE =420/7.2 ms). The first session HQI-MRI was used as the reference to mimic planning MRI. Other HQI-MRI was also retrospectively down-sampled in K-space and GRAPPA reconstructed to generate pseudo-LQI-MRI. Inter-sessional positional shift calculated from HQI-MRI, true-LQI-MRI and pseudo-LQI-MRI rigidly registering to the reference were analyzed and compared in the overall HN and the sub-regions of brain, nasopharynx, oropharynx and hypopharynx.
Results: The calculated SD of systematic errors (Σ) from HQI-MRI/pseudo-LQI-MRI/true-LQI-MRI images for overall HN were 1.11/1.14/1.08, 0.28/0.26/0.29, 0.43/0.44/0.60, and 0.77/0.79/0.74 mm for translation in LR, AP, SI and 3D, respectively; The corresponding RMS of random errors (σ) were 0.97/0.98/0.96, 0.28/0.27/0.26, 0.77/0.77/0.72, and 0.85/0.87/0.85 mm. For all sub-regions, brain showed the smallest Σ and σ in 3D. Other sub-regions showed direction-dependent error patterns, but the positioning results were consistent, independent of the datasets used for registration.
Conclusions: A highly-accelerated 3D-MRI could be used for MR-guided HN radiotherapy without compromising position verification accuracy.