Automatic registration of MR and SPECT images for treatment planning in prostate cancer

Zhenghong Lee, Kenichi K. Nagano, Jeffrey L. Duerk, D. Bruce Sodee, David L. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Rationale and Objectives. To aid in surgical and radiation therapy planning for prostate adenocarcinoma, a general-purpose automatic registration method that is based on mutual information was used to align magnetic resonance (MR) images and single photon emission computed tomographic (SPECT) images of the pelvis and prostate. Materials and Methods. The authors assessed the effects of various factors on alignment between pairs of MR and SPECT images, including the use of particular pulse sequences in MR imaging, image voxel intensity scaling, the use of different regions on the MR-SPECT histogram, spatial masking of nonoverlapping visual data between images, and multiresolution optimization. A mutual information algorithm was used as the cost function for automatic registration. Automatic registration was deemed acceptable when it resulted in a transformation with less than 2 voxel units (6 mm) difference in translation and less than 2° difference in rotation from that obtained with manual registration performed independently by nuclear medicine radiologists. Results. Paired sets of MR and SPECT image volumes from four of five patients were successfully registered. For successful registration, MR images must be optimal and registration must be performed at full spatial resolution and at the full intensity range. Masking, cropping, and the normalization of mutual information, used to register partially overlapping MR-SPECT volumes, were not successful. Multiresolution optimization had little effect on the accuracy and speed of the registration. Conclusion. Automatic registration between MR and SPECT images of the pelvis can be achieved when data acquisition and image processing are performed properly. It should prove useful for prostate cancer diagnosis, staging, and treatment planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-684
Number of pages12
JournalAcademic radiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Images, processing
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Prostate neoplasms, MR
  • Prostate neoplasms, radionuclide studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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