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IMRT planning on adaptive volume structures – a significant advance of computational complexity
(2004)

In intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) planning the oncologist faces the challenging task of finding a treatment plan that he considers to be an ideal compromise of the inherently contradictive goals of delivering a sufficiently high dose to the target while widely sparing critical structures. The search for this a priori unknown compromise typically requires the computation of several plans, i.e. the solution of several optimization problems. This accumulates to a high computational expense due to the large scale of these problems - a consequence of the discrete problem formulation. This paper presents the adaptive clustering method as a new algorithmic concept to overcome these difficulties. The computations are performed on an individually adapted structure of voxel clusters rather than on the original voxels leading to a decisively reduced computational complexity as numerical examples on real clinical data demonstrate. In contrast to many other similar concepts, the typical trade-off between a reduction in computational complexity and a loss in exactness can be avoided: the adaptive clustering method produces the optimum of the original problem. This flexible method can be applied to both single- and multi-criteria optimization methods based on most of the convex evaluation functions used in practice

Inverse treatment planning of intensity modulated radiothrapy is a multicriteria optimization problem: planners have to find optimal compromises between a sufficiently high dose in tumor tissue that garantuee a high tumor control, and, dangerous overdosing of critical structures, in order to avoid high normal tissue complcication problems. The approach presented in this work demonstrates how to state a flexible generic multicriteria model of the IMRT planning problem and how to produce clinically highly relevant Pareto-solutions. The model is imbedded in a principal concept of Reverse Engineering, a general optimization paradigm for design problems. Relevant parts of the Pareto-set are approximated by using extreme compromises as cornerstone solutions, a concept that is always feasible if box constraints for objective funtions are available. A major practical drawback of generic multicriteria concepts trying to compute or approximate parts of the Pareto-set is the high computational effort. This problem can be overcome by exploitation of an inherent asymmetry of the IMRT planning problem and an adaptive approximation scheme for optimal solutions based on an adaptive clustering preprocessing technique. Finally, a coherent approach for calculating and selecting solutions in a real-timeinteractive decision-making process is presented. The paper is concluded with clinical examples and a discussion of ongoing research topics.