Using overlap volume histogram and IMRT plan data to guide and automate VMAT planning: A head-and-neck case study

Binbin Wu, Dalong Pang, Patricio Simari, Russell Taylor, Giuseppe Sanguineti, Todd McNutt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To investigate whether an overlap volume histogram (OVH)-driven planning application using an intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) database can guide and automate volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) planning for head-and-neck cancer. Methods: Based on comparable head-and-neck dosimetric results between planner-generated VMAT and IMRT plans, an inhouse developed, OVH-driven automated planning application containing a database of prior clinical head-and-neck IMRT plans is built into Pinnacle3 SmartArc for VMAT planning. Double-arc VMAT plans of four oropharynx, four nasopharynx, and four larynx patients are generated and compared with corresponding clinical IMRT plans. Results: Each VMAT plan is automatically generated in two optimization rounds, while the average number of optimization rounds in generating a clinical IMRT plan is 43. In VMAT plans, statistical superiority (p <0.01) in sparing of the cord+4 mm, brainstem, brachial plexus, larynx, and inner ear is observed with a slight degradation in low-dose-level planning target volume (PTV) coverage. On average, D0.1 cc to the cord+4 mm, brainstem and brachial plexus is reduced by 3.7, 4.9, and 1.6 Gy, respectively; V(50 Gy) to the larynx is reduced by 5.3%; mean dose to the inner ear is reduced by 4.4 Gy; V95 of low-dose-level PTV coverage is reduced by 0.3% with p = 0.25. Conclusions: IMRT-data-driven VMAT planning offers a potential method for generating VMAT plans that are comparable to IMRT plans in terms of dosimetric quality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number021714
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


  • DVH
  • head-and-neck
  • IMRT database
  • OVH
  • VMAT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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