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Atlas construction and spatial normalisation to facilitate radiation-induced late effects research in childhood cancer.

  • Veiga, Catarina1
  • Lim, Pei2
  • Anaya, Virginia Marin3
  • Chandy, Edward1, 4
  • Ahmad, Reem1
  • D'Souza, Derek3
  • Gaze, Mark2
  • Moinuddin, Syed5
  • Gains, Jennifer2
  • 1 Centre for Medical Image Computing, Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, University College London, London, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 2 Department of Oncology, University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 3 Radiotherapy Physics Services, University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 4 UCL Cancer Institute, University College London, London, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 5 Radiotherapy, University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
Published Article
Physics in Medicine and Biology
IOP Publishing
Publication Date
May 04, 2021
DOI: 10.1088/1361-6560/abf010
PMID: 33735848


Reducing radiation-induced side effects is one of the most important challenges in paediatric cancer treatment. Recently, there has been growing interest in using spatial normalisation to enable voxel-based analysis of radiation-induced toxicities in a variety of patient groups. The need to consider three-dimensional distribution of doses, rather than dose-volume histograms, is desirable but not yet explored in paediatric populations. In this paper, we investigate the feasibility of atlas construction and spatial normalisation in paediatric radiotherapy. We used planning computed tomography (CT) scans from twenty paediatric patients historically treated with craniospinal irradiation to generate a template CT that is suitable for spatial normalisation. This childhood cancer population representative template was constructed using groupwise image registration. An independent set of 53 subjects from a variety of childhood malignancies was then used to assess the quality of the propagation of new subjects to this common reference space using deformable image registration (i.e. spatial normalisation). The method was evaluated in terms of overall image similarity metrics, contour similarity and preservation of dose-volume properties. After spatial normalisation, we report a dice similarity coefficient of 0.95 ± 0.05, 0.85 ± 0.04, 0.96 ± 0.01, 0.91 ± 0.03, 0.83 ± 0.06 and 0.65 ± 0.16 for brain and spinal canal, ocular globes, lungs, liver, kidneys and bladder. We then demonstrated the potential advantages of an atlas-based approach to study the risk of second malignant neoplasms after radiotherapy. Our findings indicate satisfactory mapping between a heterogeneous group of patients and the template CT. The poorest performance was for organs in the abdominal and pelvic region, likely due to respiratory and physiological motion and to the highly deformable nature of abdominal organs. More specialised algorithms should be explored in the future to improve mapping in these regions. This study is the first step toward voxel-based analysis in radiation-induced toxicities following paediatric radiotherapy. Creative Commons Attribution license.

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