Robust optimization of radiation therapy accounting for geometric uncertainty
Abstract: Geometric errors may compromise the quality of radiation therapy treatments. Optimization methods that account for errors can reduce their effects.The first paper of this thesis introduces minimax optimization to account for systematic range and setup errors in intensity-modulated proton therapy. The minimax method optimizes the worst case outcome of the errors within a given set. It is applied to three patient cases and shown to yield improved target coverage robustness and healthy structure sparing compared to conventional methods using margins, uniform beam doses, and density override. Information about the uncertainties enables the optimization to counterbalance the effects of errors.In the second paper, random setup errors of uncertain distribution---in addition to the systematic range and setup errors---are considered in a framework that enables scaling between expected value and minimax optimization. Experiments on a phantom show that the best and mean case tradeoffs between target coverage and critical structure sparing are similar between the methods of the framework, but that the worst case tradeoff improves with conservativeness.Minimax optimization only considers the worst case errors. When the planning criteria cannot be fulfilled for all errors, this may have an adverse effect on the plan quality. The third paper introduces a method for such cases that modifies the set of considered errors to maximize the probability of satisfying the planning criteria. For two cases treated with intensity-modulated photon and proton therapy, the method increased the number of satisfied criteria substantially. Grasping for a little less sometimes yields better plans.In the fourth paper, the theory for multicriteria optimization is extended to incorporate minimax optimization. Minimax optimization is shown to better exploit spatial information than objective-wise worst case optimization, which has previously been used for robust multicriteria optimization.The fifth and sixth papers introduce methods for improving treatment plans: one for deliverable Pareto surface navigation, which improves upon the Pareto set representations of previous methods; and one that minimizes healthy structure doses while constraining the doses of all structures not to deteriorate compared to a reference plan, thereby improving upon plans that have been reached with too weak planning goals.
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