Technical innovations and developments in areas such as disease localization, dose calculation algorithms, motion management and dose delivery technologies have revolutionized radiation therapy resulting in improved patient care with superior outcomes. A consequence of the ability to design and accurately deliver complex radiation fields is the need for improved target visualization through imaging. While CT imaging has been the standard of care for more than three decades, the superior soft tissue contrast afforded by MR has resulted in the adoption of this technology in radiation therapy. With the development of real time MR imaging techniques, the problem of real time motion management is enticing. Currently, the integration of an MR imaging and megavoltage radiation therapy treatment delivery system (MR-linac or MRL) is a reality that has the potential to provide improved target localization and real time motion management during treatment. Higher magnetic field strengths provide improved image quality potentially providing the backbone for future work related to image texture analysis—a field known as Radiomics—thereby providing meaningful information on the selection of future patients for radiation dose escalation, motion-managed treatment techniques and ultimately better patient care. On-going advances in MRL technologies promise improved real time soft tissue visualization, treatment margin reductions, beam optimization, inhomogeneity corrected dose calculation, fast multileaf collimators and volumetric arc radiation therapy. This review article provides rationale, advantages and disadvantages as well as ideas for future research in MRI related to radiation therapy mainly in adoption of MRL.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging