Lung tumor tracking in fluoroscopic video based on optical flow

Qianyi Xu, Russell J. Hamilton, Robert A. Schowengerdt, Brian Alexander, Steve B. Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Respiratory gating and tumor tracking for dynamic multileaf collimator delivery require accurate and real-time localization of the lung tumor position during treatment. Deriving tumor position from external surrogates such as abdominal surface motion may have large uncertainties due to the intra- and interfraction variations of the correlation between the external surrogates and internal tumor motion. Implanted fiducial markers can be used to track tumors fluoroscopically in real time with sufficient accuracy. However, it may not be a practical procedure when implanting fiducials bronchoscopically. In this work, a method is presented to track the lung tumor mass or relevant anatomic features projected in fluoroscopic images without implanted fiducial markers based on an optical flow algorithm. The algorithm generates the centroid position of the tracked target and ignores shape changes of the tumor mass shadow. The tracking starts with a segmented tumor projection in an initial image frame. Then, the optical flow between this and all incoming frames acquired during treatment delivery is computed as initial estimations of tumor centroid displacements. The tumor contour in the initial frame is transferred to the incoming frames based on the average of the motion vectors, and its positions in the incoming frames are determined by fine-tuning the contour positions using a template matching algorithm with a small search range. The tracking results were validated by comparing with clinician determined contours on each frame. The position difference in 95% of the frames was found to be less than 1.4 pixels (∼0.7 mm) in the best case and 2.8 pixels (∼1.4 mm) in the worst case for the five patients studied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5351-5359
Number of pages9
JournalMedical physics
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2008


  • Optical flow
  • Tumor tracking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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