Purpose: To demonstrate that variation in chemical composition has a negligible effect on the mapping curve from relative electron density (RED) to proton stopping power ratio (SPR), and to establish the theoretical framework of using Megavoltage (MV) computed tomography (CT), instead of kilovoltage (kV) dual energy CT, to accurately estimate proton SPR. Methods: A simulation study was performed to evaluate the effect of chemical composition variation on kVCT number and proton SPR. The simulation study involved both reference and simulated human tissues. The reference human tissues, together with their physical densities and chemical compositions, came from the ICRP publication 23. The simulated human tissues were created from the reference human tissues assuming that elemental percentage weight followed a Gaussian distribution. For all tissues, kVCT number and proton SPR were obtained through (a) theoretical calculation from tissue’s physical density and chemical composition which served as the ground truth, and (b) estimation from RED using the calibration curves established from the stoichiometric method. Deviations of the estimated values from the calculated values were quantified as errors in using RED to estimate kVCT number and proton SPR. Results: Given a chemical composition variation of 5% (1σ) of the nominal percentage weights, the total estimation error of using RED to estimate kVCT number was 0.34%, 0.62%, and 0.77% and the total estimation error of using RED to estimate proton SPR was 0.30%, 0.22%, and 0.16% for fat tissues, non-fat soft tissues and bone tissues, respectively. Conclusion: Chemical composition had a negligible effect on the method of using RED to determine proton SPR. RED itself is sufficient to accurately determine proton SPR. MVCT number maintains a superb linear relationship with RED because it is highly dominated by Compton scattering. Therefore, MVCT has great potential in reducing the proton range uncertainty.
- proton range uncertainty
- stoichiometric method
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging