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Br J Radiol. 2005 Apr;78(928):316-27.

Automatic selection of non-coplanar beam directions for three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy.

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  • 1University of Washington Medical Center, Department of Radiation Oncology, Box 356043, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


An algorithm is described, based on ray-tracing and the beam's-eye-view, that exhaustively searches all permitted beam directions. The evaluation of the search is based on a general cost function that can be adapted to the clinical objectives by means of parameters and weighting factors. The approach takes into account the constraints of the linear accelerator by discarding beam directions that are not permitted. A sensitivity analysis was carried out to determine appropriate parameters for different sized organs, and a prostate case was used to benchmark the approach. The algorithm was also applied to two clinical cases (brain and sinus) to test the benefits of the approach compared with manual angle selection. The time to perform a beam direction search was approximately 2 min for the coplanar and 12 min for the non-coplanar beam space. The angles obtained for the prostate case compared well with reports in the literature. For the brain case, the mean dose to the right and left optic nerves was reduced by 12% and 50%, respectively, whilst the target dose uniformity was improved. For the sinus case, the mean doses to the right and left parotid glands were reduced by 54% and 46%, respectively, to the right and left optic nerves by 37% and 62%, respectively, and to the optic chiasm by 39%, whilst the target dose uniformity was also improved. For the clinical cases the plans based on optimized beam directions were simpler and resulted in better sparing of critical structures compared with plans based on manual angle selection. The approach provides a practical alternative to elaborate and time consuming beam angle optimization schemes and is suitable for routine clinical usage.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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