Knowledge-Based Quality Assurance and Model Maintenance in Lung Cancer Radiation Therapy in a Statewide Quality Consortium of Academic and Community Practice Centers

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Pract Radiat Oncol


PURPOSE: Locally advanced lung cancer (LALC) treatment planning is often complex due to challenging tradeoffs related to large targets near organs at risk, making the judgment of plan quality difficult. The purpose of this work was to update and maintain a multi-institutional knowledge-based planning (KBP) model developed by a statewide consortium of academic and community practices for use as a plan quality assurance (QA) tool.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: Sixty LALC volumetric-modulated arc therapy plans from 2021 were collected from 24 institutions. Plan quality was scored, with high-quality clinical (HQC) plans selected to update a KBP model originally developed in 2017. The model was validated via automated KBP planning, with 20 cases excluded from the model. Differences in dose-volume histogram metrics in the clinical plans, 2017 KBP model plans, and 2022 KBP model plans were compared. Twenty recent clinical cases not meeting consortium quality metrics were replanned with the 2022 model to investigate potential plan quality improvements.

RESULTS: Forty-seven plans were included in the final KBP model. Compared with the clinical plans, the 2022 model validation plans improved 60%, 65%, and 65% of the lung V20Gy, mean heart dose, and spinal canal D0.03cc metrics, respectively. The 2022 model showed improvements from the 2017 model in hot spot management at the cost of greater lung doses. Of the 20 recent cases not meeting quality metrics, 40% of the KBP model-replanned cases resulted in acceptable plans, suggesting potential clinical plan improvements.

CONCLUSIONS: A multi-institutional KBP model was updated using plans from a statewide consortium. Multidisciplinary plan review resulted in HQC model training plans and model validation resulted in acceptable quality plans. The model proved to be effective at identifying potential plan quality improvements. Work is ongoing to develop web-based training plan review tools and vendor-agnostic platforms to provide the model as a QA tool statewide.

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ePub ahead of print