The human brain as an organ has numerous functions; some of them can be visualized by functional imaging techniques (e.g., functional MRI [fMRI] or positron emission tomography). The localization of the appropriate activity clusters requires sophisticated instrumentation and complex measuring protocol. As the inclusion of the activation pattern in modern self-tailored 3D based radiotherapy has notable advantages, this method is applied frequently. Unfortunately, no standardized method has been published yet for the integration of the fMRI data into the planning process and the detailed description of the individual applications is usually missing. Thirteen patients with brain tumors, receiving fMRI based RT planning were enrolled in this study. The delivered dose maps were exported from the treatment planning system and processed for further statistical analysis. Two parameters were introduced to measure the geometrical distance Hausdorff Distance (HD), and volumetric overlap Dice Similarity Coefficient (DSC) of fMRI corrected and not corrected dose matrices as calculated by 3D planning to characterize similarity and/or dissimilarity of these dose matrices. Statistical analysis of bootstrapped HD and DSC data was performed to determine confidence intervals of these parameters. The calculated confidence intervals for HD and DSC were (5.04, 7.09), (0.79, 0.86), respectively for the 40 Gy and (5.2, 7.85), (0.74, 0.83), respectively for the 60 Gy dose volumes. These data indicate that in the case of HD < 5.04 and/or DSC > 0.86, the 40 Gy dose volumes obtained with and without fMRI activation pattern do not show a significant difference (5% significance level). The same conditions for the 60 Gy dose volumes were HD < 5.2 and/or DSC > 0.83. At the same time, with HD > 7.09 and/or DSC < 0.79 for 40 Gy and HD > 7.85 and/or DSC < 0.74 for 60 Gy the impact of fMRI utilization in RT planning is excessive. The fMRI activation clusters can be used in daily RT planning routine to spare activation clusters as critical areas in the brain and avoid their high dose irradiation. Parameters HD (as distance) and DSC (as overlap) can be used to characterize the difference and similarity between the radiotherapy planning target volumes and indicate whether the fMRI delivered activation patterns and consequent fMRI corrected planning volumes are reliable or not.
Keywords: GBM Methodological report Radiotherapy planning fMRI