TU-EF-304-08: LET-Based Inverse Planning for IMPT




Cell survival experiments suggest that the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of proton beams depends on linear energy transfer (LET), leading to higher RBE near the end of range. With intensity-modulated proton therapy (IMPT), multiple treatment plans that differ in the dose contribution per field may yield a similar physical dose distribution, but the RBE-weighted dose distribution may be disparate. RBE models currently do not have the required predictive power to be included in an optimization model due to the variations in experimental data. We propose an LET-based planning method that guides IMPT optimization models towards plans with reduced RBE-weighted dose in surrounding organs at risk (OARs) compared to inverse planning based on physical dose alone.


Optimization models for physical dose are extended with a term for dose times LET (doseLET). Monte Carlo code is used to generate the physical dose and doseLET distribution of each individual pencil beam. The method is demonstrated for an atypical meningioma patient where the target volume abuts the brainstem and partially overlaps with the optic nerve.


A reference plan optimized based on physical dose alone yields high doseLET values in parts of the brainstem and optic nerve. Minimizing doseLET in these critical structures as an additional planning goal reduces the risk of high RBE-weighted dose. The resulting treatment plan avoids the distal fall-off of the Bragg peaks for shaping the dose distribution in front of critical stuctures. The maximum dose in the OARs evaluated with RBE models from literature is reduced by 8–14\% with our method compared to conventional planning.


LET-based inverse planning for IMPT offers the ability to reduce the RBE-weighted dose in OARs without sacrificing target dose.

This project was in part supported by NCI - U19 CA 21239