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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2008 Nov 15;72(4):1208-14. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2008.07.015.

Multicriteria optimization in intensity-modulated radiation therapy treatment planning for locally advanced cancer of the pancreatic head.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.



Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) affords the potential to decrease radiation therapy-associated toxicity by creating highly conformal dose distributions. However, the inverse planning process can create a suboptimal plan despite meeting all constraints. Multicriteria optimization (MCO) may reduce the time-consuming iteration loop necessary to develop a satisfactory plan while providing information regarding trade-offs between different treatment planning goals. In this exploratory study, we examine the feasibility and utility of MCO in physician plan selection in patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer (LAPC).


The first 10 consecutive patients with LAPC treated with IMRT were evaluated. A database of plans (Pareto surface) was created that met the inverse planning goals. The physician then navigated to an "optimal" plan from the point on the Pareto surface at which kidney dose was minimized.


Pareto surfaces were created for all 10 patients. A physician was able to select a plan from the Pareto surface within 10 minutes for all cases. Compared with the original (treated) IMRT plans, the plan selected from the Pareto surface had a lower stomach mean dose in 9 of 10 patients, although often at the expense of higher kidney dose than with the treated plan.


The MCO is feasible in patients with LAPC and allows the physician to choose a satisfactory plan quickly. Generally, when given the opportunity, the physician will choose a plan with a lower stomach dose. The MCO enables a physician to provide greater active clinical input into the IMRT planning process.

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