Reducing dose calculation time for accurate iterative IMRT planning.
A time-consuming component of IMRT optimization is the dose computation required in each iteration for the evaluation of the objective function. Accurate superposition/convolution (SC) and Monte Carlo (MC) dose calculations are currently considered too time-consuming for iterative IMRT dose calculation. Thus, fast, but less accurate algorithms such as pencil beam (PB) algorithms are typically used in most current IMRT systems. This paper describes two hybrid methods that utilize the speed of fast PB algorithms yet achieve the accuracy of optimizing based upon SC algorithms via the application of dose correction matrices. In one method, the ratio method, an infrequently computed voxel-by-voxel dose ratio matrix (R = D(SC)/D(PB)) is applied for each beam to the dose distributions calculated with the PB method during the optimization. That is, D(PB) x R is used for the dose calculation during the optimization. The optimization proceeds until both the IMRT beam intensities and the dose correction ratio matrix converge. In the second method, the correction method, a periodically computed voxel-by-voxel correction matrix for each beam, defined to be the difference between the SC and PB dose computations, is used to correct PB dose distributions. To validate the methods, IMRT treatment plans developed with the hybrid methods are compared with those obtained when the SC algorithm is used for all optimization iterations and with those obtained when PB-based optimization is followed by SC-based optimization. In the 12 patient cases studied, no clinically significant differences exist in the final treatment plans developed with each of the dose computation methodologies. However, the number of time-consuming SC iterations is reduced from 6-32 for pure SC optimization to four or less for the ratio matrix method and five or less for the correction method. Because the PB algorithm is faster at computing dose, this reduces the inverse planning optimization time for our implementation by a factor of 2 to 8 compared with pure SC optimization, without compromising the quality or accuracy of the final treatment plan.
Siebers, JV; Lauterbach, M; Tong, S; Wu, Q; Mohan, R
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