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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