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DJR 48-1A: Evaluating the plan quality of a general head-and-neck knowledge-based planning model versus separate unilateral/bilateral models

Course Details

MDCB Credits: 2.50

ARRT Credits: 1.00

Available Until: 2/29/2024

Non-Member Price: $87.50

Member Price: $50.00

Member PLUS Price: $50.00

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Authors: Kirk Luca, MS, CMD, Justin Roper, PhD, DABR, Jonathan Wolf, MS, CMD, RT(R)(T), Oluwatosin Kayode, MS, CMD, RT(R)(T), Jeffrey Bradley, MD, FACR, William A. Stokes, MD, Jiahan Zhang, PhD, DABR
Emory Department of Radiation Oncology

The implementation of knowledge-based planning (KBP) continues to grow in radiotherapy clinics. KBP guides radiation treatment design by generating clinically acceptable plans in a timely and resource- efficient manner. The role of multiple KBP models tailored for variations within a disease site remains undefined in part because of the substantial effort and number of training cases required to create a high-quality KBP model. In this study, our aim was to explore whether site-specific KBP models lead to clinically meaningful differences in plan quality for head-and-neck (HN) patients when compared to a general model. One KBP model was created from prior volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) cases that treated unilateral HN lymph nodes while another model was created from VMAT cases that treated bilateral HN nodes. Thirty cases from each model (60 cases total) were randomly selected to create a third, general model. These models were applied to 60 HN test cases – 30 unilateral and 30 bilateral – to generate 180 VMAT plans in Eclipse. Clinically relevant dose metrics were compared between models. Paired-sample t-tests were used for statistical analysis, with the threshold for statistical significance set a priori at 0.007, taking into consideration multiple hypothesis testing to avoid type I error. For unilateral test cases, the unilateral model-generated plans had significantly lower spinal cord maximum doses (12.1 Gy vs 19.3 Gy, p < 0.001) and oral cavity mean doses (20.8 Gy vs 23.0 Gy, p < 0.001), compared with the bilateral model-generated plans. The unilateral and general models generated comparable plans for unilateral HN test cases. For bilateral test cases, the bilateral model created plans had significantly lower brainstem maximum doses (10.8 Gy vs 12.2 Gy, p < 0.001) and parotid mean doses (24.0 Gy vs 25.5 Gy, p < 0.001) when compared to the unilateral model. Right parotid mean doses were lower for bilateral model plans compared to general model plans (23.8 Gy vs 24.4 Gy). The general model created plans with significantly lower brainstem maximum doses (10.3 Gy vs 10.8 Gy) and oral cavity mean doses (35.3 Gy vs 36.7 Gy) when compared with bilateral model-generated plans. The general model outperformed the bilateral model in several dose metrics but they were not deemed clinically significant. For both case sets, the unilateral and general model created plans had higher monitor units when compared to the bilateral model, likely due to more stringent constraint settings. All other dose metrics were comparable. This study demonstrates that a balanced general HN model created using carefully curated treatment plans can produce high quality plans comparable to dedicated unilateral and bilateral models.

As of January 1, 2022, ARRT requires CE Credits for Directed Journal Readings to be based on the word count for each article. So, the number of CE Credits for each DJR article will vary for ARRT. For this article, the ARRT CE Credit will be 1 Credit. The MDCB CE Credits will remain at 2.5 Credits. 

ARRT CQR Credit Distribution
Radiation Therapy 2017:
  Prescription and Dose Calculation = 1.00 credits
Radiation Therapy 2022:
  Prescription and Dose Calculation = 1.00 credits