© 2017 The Author(s). Background: To evaluate a knowledge based planning model for RapidPlan (RP) generated for advanced head and neck cancer (HNC) patient treatments, as well its ability to possibly improve the clinical plan quality. The stability of the model was assessed also for a different beam geometry, different dose fractionation and different management of bilateral structures (parotids). Methods: Dosimetric and geometric data from plans of 83 patients presenting HNC were selected for the model training. All the plans used volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT, RapidArc) to treat two targets at dose levels of 69.96 and 54.45 Gy in 33 fractions with simultaneous integrated boost. Two models were generated, the first separating the ipsi- and contra-lateral parotids, while the second associating the two parotids to a single structure for training. The optimization objectives were adjusted to the final model to better translate the institutional planning and dosimetric strategies and trade-offs. The models were validated on 20 HNC patients, comparing the RP generated plans and the clinical plans. RP generated plans were also compared between the clinical beam arrangement and a simpler geometry, as well as for a different fractionation scheme. Results: RP improved significantly the clinical plan quality, with a reduction of 2 Gy, 5 Gy, and 10 Gy of the mean parotid, oral cavity and laryngeal doses, respectively. A simpler beam geometry was deteriorating the plan quality, but in a small amount, keeping a significant improvement relative to the clinical plan. The two models, with one or two parotid structures, showed very similar results. NTCP evaluations indicated the possibility of improving (NTCP decreasing of about 7%) the toxicity profile when using the RP solution. Conclusions: The HNC RP model showed improved plan quality and planning stability for beam geometry and fractionation. An adequate choice of the objectives in the model is necessary for the trade-offs strategies.
- Head and Neck planning
- Knowledge based planning