Author(s): Li Y, Yao J, Yao D
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Abstract The selection of suitable beam angles in external beam radiotherapy is at present generally based upon the experience of the human planner. The requirement to automatically select beam angles is particularly highlighted in intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), in which a smaller number of modulated beams is hoped to be used, in comparison with conformal radiotherapy. It has been proved by many researchers that the selection of suitable beam angles is most valuable for a plan with a small number of beams (< or = 5). In this paper an efficient method is presented to investigate how to improve the dose distributions by selecting suitable coplanar beam angles. In our automatic beam angle selection (ABAS) algorithm, the optimal coplanar beam angles correspond to the lowest objective function value of the dose distributions calculated using the intensity-modulated maps of this group of candidate beams. Due to the complexity of the problem and the large search space involved, the selection of beam angles and the optimization of intensity maps are treated as two separate processes and implemented iteratively. A genetic algorithm (GA) incorporated with an immunity operation is used to select suitable beam angles, and a conjugate gradient (CG) method is used to quickly optimize intensity maps for each selected beam combination based on a dose-based objective function. A pencil-beam-based three-dimensional (3D) full scatter convolution (FSC) algorithm is employed for the dose calculation. Two simulated cases with obvious optimal beam angles are used to verify the validity of the presented technique, and a more complicated case simulating a prostate tumour and two clinical cases are employed to test the efficiency of ABAS. The results show that ABAS is valid and efficient and can improve the dose distributions within a clinically acceptable computation time.
This article was published in Phys Med Biol
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