International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics vol:45 issue:4 pages:857-865
PURPOSE: To investigate whether the use of transaxial and coronal MR imaging improves the ability to localize the apex of the prostate and the anterior part of the rectum compared to the use of transaxial CT alone, and whether the incorporation of MR could improve the coverage of the prostate by the radiotherapy field and change the volume of rectum irradiated. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Ten consecutive patients with localized prostate carcinoma underwent a CT and an axial and coronal MR scan in treatment position. The CT and MR images were mathematically aligned, and three observers were asked to contour independently the prostate and the rectum on CT and on MR. The interobserver variability of the prostatic apex location and of the delineation of the anterior rectal wall were assessed for each image modality. A dosimetry study was performed to evaluate the dose to the rectum when MR was used in addition to CT to localize the pelvic organs. RESULTS: The interobserver variation of the prostatic apex location was largest on CT ranging from 0.54 to 1.07 cm, and smallest on coronal MR ranging from 0.17 to 0.25 cm. The interobserver variation of the delineation of the anterior rectum on MR was small and constant along the whole length of the prostate (0.09+/-0.02 cm), while for CT it was comparable to that for the MR delineation at the base of the prostate, but it increased gradually towards the apex, where the variation reached 0.39 cm. The volume of MR rectum receiving more than 80% of the prescribed dose was on average reduced by 23.8+/-11.2% from the CT to the MR treatment plan. CONCLUSION: It can be concluded that the additional use of axial and coronal MR scans, in designing the treatment plan for localized prostate carcinoma, improves substantially the localization accuracy of the prostatic apex and the anterior aspect of the rectum, resulting in a better coverage of the prostate and a potential to reduce the volume of the rectum irradiated to a high dose.