Plan averaging for multicriteria navigation of sliding window IMRT and VMAT




To describe a method for combining sliding window plans [intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) or volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT)] for use in treatment plan averaging, which is needed for Pareto surface navigation based multicriteria treatment planning.


The authors show that by taking an appropriately defined average of leaf trajectories of sliding window plans, the authors obtain a sliding window plan whose fluence map is the exact average of the fluence maps corresponding to the initial plans. In the case of static-beam IMRT, this also implies that the dose distribution of the averaged plan is the exact dosimetric average of the initial plans. In VMAT delivery, the dose distribution of the averaged plan is a close approximation of the dosimetric average of the initial plans.


The authors demonstrate the method on three Pareto optimal VMAT plans created for a demanding paraspinal case, where the tumor surrounds the spinal cord. The results show that the leaf averaged plans yield dose distributions that approximate the dosimetric averages of the precomputed Pareto optimal plans well.


The proposed method enables the navigation of deliverable Pareto optimal plans directly, i.e., interactive multicriteria exploration of deliverable sliding window IMRT and VMAT plans, eliminating the need for a sequencing step after navigation and hence the dose degradation that is caused by such a sequencing step.