A dynamic programming approach to adaptive fractionation
Author(s)Ramakrishnan, Jagdish; Craft, David; Bortfeld, Thomas; Tsitsiklis, John N.
MetadataShow full item record
We conduct a theoretical study of various solution methods for the adaptive fractionation problem. The two messages of this paper are as follows: (i) dynamic programming (DP) is a useful framework for adaptive radiation therapy, particularly adaptive fractionation, because it allows us to assess how close to optimal different methods are, and (ii) heuristic methods proposed in this paper are near-optimal, and therefore, can be used to evaluate the best possible benefit of using an adaptive fraction size. The essence of adaptive fractionation is to increase the fraction size when the tumor and organ-at-risk (OAR) are far apart (a 'favorable' anatomy) and to decrease the fraction size when they are close together. Given that a fixed prescribed dose must be delivered to the tumor over the course of the treatment, such an approach results in a lower cumulative dose to the OAR when compared to that resulting from standard fractionation. We first establish a benchmark by using the DP algorithm to solve the problem exactly. In this case, we characterize the structure of an optimal policy, which provides guidance for our choice of heuristics. We develop two intuitive, numerically near-optimal heuristic policies, which could be used for more complex, high-dimensional problems. Furthermore, one of the heuristics requires only a statistic of the motion probability distribution, making it a reasonable method for use in a realistic setting. Numerically, we find that the amount of decrease in dose to the OAR can vary significantly (5–85%) depending on the amount of motion in the anatomy, the number of fractions and the range of fraction sizes allowed. In general, the decrease in dose to the OAR is more pronounced when: (i) we have a high probability of large tumor–OAR distances, (ii) we use many fractions (as in a hyper-fractionated setting) and (iii) we allow large daily fraction size deviations. General scientific summary: Conventional radiation therapy procedures deliver an equal dose to the tumor every day over the course of 30 to 40 days. In this paper, we consider the effect of delivering a different dose or fraction size based on the changes observed in the patient anatomy. Given that a fixed prescription dose must be delivered to the tumor over the course of the treatment, we find that adaptively varying the fraction size results in a lower cumulative dose to the healthy organ-at-risk. The two messages of this paper are: (i) dynamic programming is a useful framework for adaptive radiation therapy, particularly adaptive fractionation, because it allows us to measure the proximity of different methods to the optimal one, and (ii) heuristic methods proposed in this paper are near-optimal, and therefore, can be used to evaluate the best possible benefit of using an adaptive fraction size.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems
Physics in Medicine and Biology
Ramakrishnan, Jagdish, David Craft, Thomas Bortfeld, and John N Tsitsiklis. A Dynamic Programming Approach to Adaptive Fractionation. Physics in Medicine and Biology 57, no. 5 (March 7, 2012): 1203-1216.
Author's final manuscript