A deep learning approach for converting prompt gamma images to proton dose distributions: A Monte Carlo simulation study

Chih Chieh Liu, Hsuan Ming Huang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose: In proton therapy, imaging prompt gamma (PG) rays has the potential to verify proton dose (PD) distribution. Despite the fact that there is a strong correlation between the gamma-ray emission and PD, they are still different in terms of the distribution and the Bragg peak (BP) position. In this work, we investigated the feasibility of using a deep learning approach to convert PG images to PD distributions. Methods: We designed the Monte Carlo simulations using 20 digital brain phantoms irradiated with a 100-MeV proton pencil beam. Each phantom was used to simulate 200 pairs of PG images and PD distributions. A convolutional neural network based on the U-net architecture was trained to predict PD distributions from PG images. Results: Our simulation results show that the pseudo PD distributions derived from the corresponding PG images agree well with the simulated ground truths. The mean of the BP position errors from each phantom was less than 0.4 mm. We also found that 2000 pairs of PG images and dose distributions would be sufficient to train the U-net. Moreover, the trained network could be deployed on the unseen data (i.e. different beam sizes, proton energies and real patient CT data). Conclusions: Our simulation study has shown the feasibility of predicting PD distributions from PG images using a deep learning approach, but the reliable prediction of PD distributions requires high-quality PG images. Image-degrading factors such as low counts and limited spatial resolution need to be considered in order to obtain high-quality PG images.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-119
Number of pages10
JournalPhysica Medica
StatePublished - 01 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Associazione Italiana di Fisica Medica


  • Deep learning
  • Prompt gamma imaging
  • Proton dose


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