An automated dose tracking system for adaptive radiation therapy

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Computer methods and programs in biomedicine


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: The implementation of adaptive radiation therapy (ART) into routine clinical practice is technically challenging and requires significant resources to perform and validate each process step. The objective of this report is to identify the key components of ART, to illustrate how a specific automated procedure improves efficiency, and to facilitate the routine clinical application of ART.

METHODS: Data was used from patient images, exported from a clinical database and converted to an intermediate format for point-wise dose tracking and accumulation. The process was automated using in-house developed software containing three modularized components: an ART engine, user interactive tools, and integration tools. The ART engine conducts computing tasks using the following modules: data importing, image pre-processing, dose mapping, dose accumulation, and reporting. In addition, custom graphical user interfaces (GUIs) were developed to allow user interaction with select processes such as deformable image registration (DIR). A commercial scripting application programming interface was used to incorporate automated dose calculation for application in routine treatment planning. Each module was considered an independent program, written in C++or C#, running in a distributed Windows environment, scheduled and monitored by integration tools.

RESULTS: The automated tracking system was retrospectively evaluated for 20 patients with prostate cancer and 96 patients with head and neck cancer, under institutional review board (IRB) approval. In addition, the system was evaluated prospectively using 4 patients with head and neck cancer. Altogether 780 prostate dose fractions and 2586 head and neck cancer dose fractions went processed, including DIR and dose mapping. On average, daily cumulative dose was computed in 3 h and the manual work was limited to 13 min per case with approximately 10% of cases requiring an additional 10 min for image registration refinement.

CONCLUSIONS: An efficient and convenient dose tracking system for ART in the clinical setting is presented. The software and automated processes were rigorously evaluated and validated using patient image datasets. Automation of the various procedures has improved efficiency significantly, allowing for the routine clinical application of ART for improving radiation therapy effectiveness.

Medical Subject Headings

Algorithms; Computer Graphics; Dose Fractionation, Radiation; Head and Neck Neoplasms; Humans; Male; Prospective Studies; Prostatic Neoplasms; Radiotherapy; Radiotherapy Dosage; Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted; Reproducibility of Results; Retrospective Studies; Software; Uncertainty; User-Computer Interface

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