Purpose: 4D-CT typically delivers more accurate information about anatomical structures in the lung, over 3D-CT, due to its ability to capture visual information of the lung motion across different respiratory phases. This helps to better determine the dose during radiation therapy for lung cancer. However, a critical concern with 4D-CT that substantially compromises this advantage is the low superior-inferior resolution due to less number of acquired slices, in order to control the CT radiation dose. To address this limitation, the authors propose an approach to reconstruct missing intermediate slices, so as to improve the superior-inferior resolution. Methods: In this method the authors exploit the observation that sampling information across respiratory phases in 4D-CT can be complimentary due to lung motion. The authors' approach uses this locally complimentary information across phases in a patch-based sparse-representation framework. Moreover, unlike some recent approaches that treat local patches independently, the authors' approach employs the group-sparsity framework that imposes neighborhood and similarity constraints between patches. This helps in mitigating the trade-off between noise robustness and structure preservation, which is an important consideration in resolution enhancement. The authors discuss the regularizing ability of group-sparsity, which helps in reducing the effect of noise and enables better structural localization and enhancement. Results: The authors perform extensive experiments on the publicly available DIR-Lab Lung 4D-CT dataset [R. Castillo, E. Castillo, R. Guerra, V. Johnson, T. McPhail, A. Garg, and T. Guerrero, "A framework for evaluation of deformable image registration spatial accuracy using large landmark point sets," Phys. Med. Biol. 54, 1849-1870 (2009)]. First, the authors carry out empirical parametric analysis of some important parameters in their approach. The authors then demonstrate, qualitatively as well as quantitatively, the ability of their approach to achieve more accurate and better localized results over bicubic interpolation as well as a related state-of-the-art approach. The authors also show results on some datasets with tumor, to further emphasize the clinical importance of their method. Conclusions: The authors have proposed to improve the superior-inferior resolution of 4D-CT by estimating intermediate slices. The authors' approach exploits neighboring constraints in the group-sparsity framework, toward the goal of achieving better localization and noise robustness. The authors' results are encouraging, and positively demonstrate the role of group-sparsity for 4D-CT resolution enhancement.
- Lung cancer
- Radiation therapy
- Resolution enhancement
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging