Conversion of computational human phantoms into DICOM-RT for normal tissue dose assessment in radiotherapy patients

Keith T. Griffin, Matthew M. Mille, Christopher Pelletier, Mahesh Gopalakrishnan, Jae Won Jung, Choonik Lee, John Kalapurakal, Anil Pyakuryal, Choonsik Lee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Radiotherapy (RT) treatment planning systems (TPS) are designed for the fast calculation of dose to the tumor bed and nearby organs at risk using x-ray computed tomography (CT) images. However, CT images for a patient are typically available for only a small portion of the body, and in some cases, such as for retrospective epidemiological studies, no images may be available at all. When dose to organs that lie out-of-scan must be estimated, a convenient alternative for the unknown patient anatomy is to use a matching whole-body computational phantom as a surrogate. The purpose of the current work is to connect such computational phantoms to commercial RT TPS for retrospective organ dose estimation. A custom software with graphical user interface (GUI), called the DICOM-RT Generator, was developed in MATLAB to convert voxel computational phantoms into the digital imaging and communications in medicine radiotherapy (DICOM-RT) format, compatible with commercial TPS. DICOM CT image sets for the phantoms are created via a density-to-Hounsfield unit (HU) conversion curve. Accompanying structure sets containing the organ contours are automatically generated by tracing binary masks of user-specified organs on each phantom CT slice. The software was tested on a library of body size-dependent phantoms, the International Commission on Radiological Protection reference phantoms, and a canine voxel phantom, taking only a few minutes per conversion. The resulting DICOM-RT files were tested on several commercial TPS. As an example application, a library of converted phantoms was used to estimate organ doses for members of the National Wilms Tumor Study (NWTS) cohort. The converted phantom library, in DICOM format, and a standalone MATLAB-compiled executable of the DICOM-RT Generator are available for others to use for research purposes (

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13NT02
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 5 2019


  • automatic contouring
  • computational phantom
  • treatment planning system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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