Use of knowledge based DVH predictions to enhance automated re-planning strategies in head and neck adaptive radiotherapy

Elisabetta Cagni, Andrea Botti, Agnese Chendi, Mauro Iori, Emiliano Spezi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study aimed to investigate if a commercial, knowledge-based tool for radiotherapy planning could be used to estimate the amount of sparing in organs at risk (OARs) in the re-planning strategy for adaptive radiotherapy (ART). Eighty head and neck (HN) VMAT Pareto plans from our institute's database were used to train a knowledge-based planning (KBP) model. An evaluation set of another 20 HN patients was randomly selected. For each patient in the evaluation set, the planning computed tomography (CT) and 2 sets of on-board cone-beam CT, corresponding to the middle and second half of the radiotherapy treatment course, were extracted. The original plan was re-calculated on a daily deformed CT (delivered dose-volume histogram (DVH)) and compared with the KBP DVH predictions and with the final KBP DVH after optimisation of the plan, which was performed on the same image sets. To evaluate the feasibility of this method, the range of KBP DVH uncertainties was compared with the gains obtained from re-planning. DVH differences and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis were used for this purpose. On average, final KBP uncertainties were smaller than the gain in re-planning. Statistical tests confirmed significant differences between the two groups. ROC analysis showed KBP performance in terms of area under the curve values higher than 0.7, which confirmed a good accuracy in predicted values. Overall, for 48% of cases, KBP predicted a desirable outcome from re-planning, and the final dose confirmed an effective gain in 47% of cases. We have established a systematic workflow to identify effective OAR sparing in re-planning based on KBP predictions that can be implemented in an on-line, ART process.

Original languageEnglish
Article number135004
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jun 23 2021


  • adaptive radiotherapy
  • automatic planning
  • knowledge-based planning
  • multicriteria optimisation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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