Optimization of Rotational Arc Station Parameter Optimized Radiation Therapy

P. Dong, B. Ungun, S. Boyd, and L. Xing

Medical Physics, 17(2):4973-4983, 2016

To develop a fast optimization method for station parameter optimized radiation therapy (SPORT) and show that SPORT is capable of matching VMAT in both plan quality and delivery efficiency by using three clinical cases of different disease sites. The angular space from 0 to 360 degrees was divided into 180 station points (SPs). A candidate aperture was assigned to each of the SPs based on the calculation results using a column generation algorithm. The weights of the apertures were then obtained by optimizing the objective function using a state-of-the-art GPU based proximal operator graph solver. To avoid being trapped in a local minimum in beamlet-based aperture selection using the gradient descent algorithm, a stochastic gradient descent was employed here. Apertures with zero or low weight were thrown out. To find out whether there was room to further improve the plan by adding more apertures or SPs, the authors repeated the above procedure with consideration of the existing dose distribution from the last iteration. At the end of the second iteration, the weights of all the apertures were re-optimized, including those of the first iteration. The above procedure was repeated until the plan could not be improved any further. The optimization technique was assessed by using three clinical cases (prostate, head and neck, and brain) with the results compared to that obtained using conventional VMAT in terms of dosimetric properties, treatment time, and total MU.Marked dosimetric quality improvement was demonstrated in the SPORT plans for all three studied cases. For the prostate case, the volume of the 5 percent prescription dose was decreased by 22 percent for the rectum and 6 percent for the bladder. For the head and neck case, SPORT improved the mean dose for the left and right parotids by 15 percent each. The maximum dose was lowered from 72.7 to 71.7 Gy for the mandible, and from 30.7 to 27.3 Gy for the spinal cord. The mean dose for the pharynx and larynx was reduced by 8 and 6 percent, respectively. For the brain case, the doses to the eyes, chiasm, and inner ears were all improved. SPORT shortened the treatment time by around 1 min for the prostate case, 0.5 min for brain case, and 0.2 min for the head and neck case. The dosimetric quality and delivery efficiency presented here indicate that SPORT is an intriguing alternative treatment modality. With the widespread adoption of digital linac, SPORT should lead to improved patient care in the future.