Optimal treatment plan adaptation using mid-treatment imaging biomarkers

S C M ten Eikelder, P Ferjančič, A Ajdari, T Bortfeld, D den Hertog, R Jeraj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Previous studies on personalized radiotherapy (RT) have mostly focused on baseline patient stratification, adapting the treatment plan according to mid-treatment anatomical changes, or dose boosting to selected tumor subregions using mid-treatment radiological findings. However, the question of how to find the optimal adapted plan has not been properly tackled. Moreover, the effect of information uncertainty on the resulting adaptation has not been explored. In this paper, we present a framework to optimally adapt radiation therapy treatments to early radiation treatment response estimates derived from pre- and mid-treatment imaging data while considering the information uncertainty. The framework is based on the optimal stopping in radiation therapy (OSRT) framework. Biological response is quantified using tumor control probability (TCP) and normal tissue complication probability (NTCP) models, and these are directly optimized for in the adaptation step. Two adaptation strategies are discussed: (1) uniform dose adaptation and (2) continuous dose adaptation. In the first strategy, the original fluence-map is simply scaled upwards or downwards, depending on whether dose escalation or de-escalation is deemed appropriate based on the mid-treatment response observed from the radiological images. In the second strategy, a full NTCP-TCP-based fluence map re-optimization is performed to achieve the optimal adapted plans. We retrospectively tested the performance of these strategies on 14 canine head and neck cases treated with tomotherapy, using as response biomarker the change in the 3'-deoxy-3'[(18)F]-fluorothymidine (FLT)-PET signals between the pre- and mid-treatment images, and accounting for information uncertainty. Using a 10% uncertainty level, the two adaptation strategies both yield a noteworthy average improvement in guaranteed (worst-case) TCP.
Original languageEnglish
Article number245011
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2020


  • biologically adaptive radiation therapy
  • biomarker
  • dose escalation
  • dose painting


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