To develop a reliable method to estimate electron density based on anatomic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain.We proposed a unifying multi-atlas approach for electron density estimation based on standard T1- and T2-weighted MRI. First, a composite atlas was constructed through a voxelwise matching process using multiple atlases, with the goal of mitigating effects of inherent anatomic variations between patients. Next we computed for each voxel 2 kinds of conditional probabilities: (1) electron density given its image intensity on T1- and T2-weighted MR images; and (2) electron density given its spatial location in a reference anatomy, obtained by deformable image registration. These were combined into a unifying posterior probability density function using the Bayesian formalism, which provided the optimal estimates for electron density. We evaluated the method on 10 patients using leave-one-patient-out cross-validation. Receiver operating characteristic analyses for detecting different tissue types were performed.The proposed method significantly reduced the errors in electron density estimation, with a mean absolute Hounsfield unit error of 119, compared with 140 and 144 (P<.0001) using conventional T1-weighted intensity and geometry-based approaches, respectively. For detection of bony anatomy, the proposed method achieved an 89% area under the curve, 86% sensitivity, 88% specificity, and 90% accuracy, which improved upon intensity and geometry-based approaches (area under the curve: 79% and 80%, respectively).The proposed multi-atlas approach provides robust electron density estimation and bone detection based on anatomic MRI. If validated on a larger population, our work could enable the use of MRI as a primary modality for radiation treatment planning.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2016.11.053
View details for PubMedID 28244422