Quantitative Bioluminescence Tomography-Guided Conformal Irradiation for Preclinical Radiation Research

Xiangkun Xu, Zijian Deng, Hamid Dehghani, Iulian Iordachita, Michael Lim, John W. Wong, Ken Kang Hsin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose: Widely used cone beam computed tomography (CBCT)-guided irradiators in preclinical radiation research are limited to localize soft tissue target because of low imaging contrast. Knowledge of target volume is a fundamental need for radiation therapy (RT). Without such information to guide radiation, normal tissue can be overirradiated, introducing experimental uncertainties. This led us to develop high-contrast quantitative bioluminescence tomography (QBLT) for guidance. The use of a 3-dimensional bioluminescence signal, related to cell viability, for preclinical radiation research is one step toward biology-guided RT. Methods and Materials: Our QBLT system enables multiprojection and multispectral bioluminescence imaging to maximize input data for the tomographic reconstruction. Accurate quantification of spectrum and dynamic change of in vivo signal were also accounted for the QBLT. A spectral-derivative method was implemented to eliminate the modeling of the light propagation from animal surface to detector. We demonstrated the QBLT capability of guiding conformal RT using a bioluminescent glioblastoma (GBM) model in vivo. A threshold was determined to delineate QBLT reconstructed gross target volume (GTVQBLT), which provides the best overlap between the GTVQBLT and CBCT contrast labeled GBM (GTV), used as the ground truth for GBM volume. To account for the uncertainty of GTVQBLT in target positioning and volume delineation, a margin was determined and added to the GTVQBLT to form a QBLT planning target volume (PTVQBLT) for guidance. Results: The QBLT can reconstruct in vivo GBM with localization accuracy within 1 mm. A 0.5-mm margin was determined and added to GTVQBLT to form PTVQBLT, largely improving tumor coverage from 75.0% (0 mm margin) to 97.9% in average, while minimizing normal tissue toxicity. With the goal of prescribed dose 5 Gy covering 95% of PTVQBLT, QBLT-guided 7-field conformal RT can effectively irradiate 99.4 ± 1.0% of GTV. Conclusions: The QBLT provides a unique opportunity for investigators to use biologic information for target delineation, guiding conformal irradiation, and reducing normal tissue involvement, which is expected to increase reproducibility of scientific discovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1310-1321
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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