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Volume 23, Number 6, 2018

Review of strategies for MRI based reconstruction of endocavitary and interstitial applicators in brachytherapy of cervical cancer

José Richart, Vicente Carmona-Meseguer, Teresa García-Martínez, Antonio Herreros, José Pérez-Calatayud


Brachytherapy plays an essential role in the curative intent management of locally advanced cervical cancer. The introduction of the magnetic resonance (MR) as a preferred image modality and the development of new type of applicators with interstitial components have further improved its benefits. The aim of this work is to review the current status of one important aspect in the cervix cancer brachytherapy procedure, namely catheter reconstruction. MR compatible intracavitary and interstitial applicators are described. Considerations about the use of MR imaging (MRI) regarding appropriate strategies for applicator reconstruction, technical requirements, MR sequences, patient preparation and applicator commissioning are included. It is recommendable to perform the reconstruction process in the same image study employed by the physician for contouring, that is, T2 weighted (T2W) sequences. Nevertheless, a clear identification of the source path inside the catheters and the applicators is a challenge when using exclusively T2W sequences. For the intracavitary component of the implant, sometimes the catheters may be filled with some substance that produces a high intensity signal on MRI. However, this strategy is not feasible for plastic tubes or titanium needles, which, moreover, induce magnetic susceptibility artifacts. In these situations, the use of applicator libraries available in the treatment planning system (TPS) is useful, since they not only include accurate geometrical models of the intracavitary applicators, but also recent developments have made possible the implementation of the interstitial component. Another strategy to improve the reconstruction process is based on the incorporation of MR markers, such as small pellets, to be used as anchor points. Many institutions employ computed tomography (CT) as a supporting image modality. The registration of CT and MR image sets should be carefully performed, and its uncertainty previously assessed. Besides, an important research work is being carried out regarding the use of ultrasound and electromagnetic tracking technologies.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2018; 23(6) : 547-561

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