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Title: Quantification of beam complexity in intensity-modulated radiation therapy treatment plans

Purpose: Excessive complexity in intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) plans increases the dose uncertainty, prolongs the treatment time, and increases the susceptibility to changes in patient or target geometry. To date, the tools for quantitative assessment of IMRT beam complexity are still lacking. In this study, The authors have sought to develop metrics to characterize different aspects of beam complexity and investigate the beam complexity for IMRT plans of different disease sites. Methods: The authors evaluated the beam complexity scores for 65 step-and-shoot IMRT plans from three sites (prostate, head and neck, and spine) and 26 volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) plans for the prostate. On the basis of the beam apertures and monitor unit weights of all segments, the authors calculated the mean aperture area, extent of aperture shape irregularity, and degree of beam modulation for each beam. Then the beam complexity values were averaged to obtain the complexity metrics of the IMRT plans. The authors studied the correlation between the beam complexity metrics and the quality assurance (QA) results. Finally, the effects of treatment planning parameters on beam complexity were studied. Results: The beam complexity scores were not uniform among the prostate IMRT beams from different gantry angles. The lateralmore » beams had larger monitor units and smaller shape irregularity, while the anterior-posterior beams had larger modulation values. On average, the prostate IMRT plans had the smallest aperture irregularity, beam modulation, and normalized monitor units; the head and neck IMRT plans had large beam irregularity and beam modulation; and the spine stereotactic radiation therapy plans often had small beam apertures, which may have been associated with the relatively large discrepancies between planned and QA measured doses. There were weak correlations between the beam complexity scores and the measured dose errors. The prostate VMAT beams showed greater complexity than the prostate step-and-shoot IMRT beams. In the treatment planning process, the beam complexity increased as the minimum segment area decreased and as the number of optimization iterations and the maximum number of segments increased. Conclusions: The proposed metrics were effective in characterizing the beam complexity of different disease sites and for different treatment modalities. Efforts should be made to reduce the unnecessary complexity of IMRT beams to minimize the radiation dose uncertainties.« less
; ; ;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Department of Radiation Physics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030 (United States)
  2. Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Medical Physics; Journal Volume: 41; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: (c) 2014 American Association of Physicists in Medicine; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States