Algorithm and performance of a clinical IMRT beam-angle optimization system.
This paper describes the algorithm and examines the performance of an intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) beam-angle optimization (BAO) system. In this algorithm successive sets of beam angles are selected from a set of predefined directions using a fast simulated annealing (FSA) algorithm. An IMRT beam-profile optimization is performed on each generated set of beams. The IMRT optimization is accelerated by using a fast dose calculation method that utilizes a precomputed dose kernel. A compact kernel is constructed for each of the predefined beams prior to starting the FSA algorithm. The IMRT optimizations during the BAO are then performed using these kernels in a fast dose calculation engine. This technique allows the IMRT optimization to be performed more than two orders of magnitude faster than a similar optimization that uses a convolution dose calculation engine. Any type of optimization criterion present in the IMRT system can be used in this BAO system. An objective function based on clinically-relevant dose-volume (DV) criteria is used in this study. This facilitates the comparison between a BAO plan and the corresponding plan produced by a planner since the latter is usually optimized using a DV-based objective function. A simple prostate case and a complex head-and-neck (HN) case were used to evaluate the usefulness and performance of this BAO method. For the prostate case we compared the BAO results for three, five and seven coplanar beams with those of the same number of equispaced coplanar beams. For the HN case we compare the BAO results for seven and nine non-coplanar beams with that for nine equispaced coplanar beams. In each case the BAO algorithm was allowed to search up to 1000 different sets of beams. The BAO for the prostate cases were finished in about 1-2 h on a moderate 400 MHz workstation while that for the head-and-neck cases were completed in 13-17 h on a 750 MHz machine. No a priori beam-selection criteria have been used in achieving this performance. In both the prostate and the head-and-neck cases, BAO is shown to provide improvements in plan quality over that of the equispaced beams. The use of DV-based objective function also allows us to study the dependence of the improvement of plan quality offered by BAO on the DV criteria used in the optimization. We found that BAO is especially useful for cases that require strong DV criteria. The main advantages of this BAO system are its speed and its direct link to a clinical IMRT system.
Djajaputra, D; Wu, Q; Wu, Y; Mohan, R
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