Treatment plan quality assessment for radiotherapy of rectal cancer patients using prediction of organ-at-risk dose metrics

Ana Vaniqui*, Richard Canters, Femke Vaassen, Colien Hazelaar, Indra Lubken, Kirsten Kremer, Cecile Wolfs, Wouter van Elmpt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background and purpose: Radiotherapy centers frequently lack simple tools for periodic treatment plan verification and feedback on current plan quality. It is difficult to measure treatment quality over different years or during the planning process. Here, we implemented plan quality assurance (QA) by developing a database of dose-volume histogram (DVH) metrics and a prediction model. These tools were used to assess automatically optimized treatment plans for rectal cancer patients, based on cohort analysis.

Material and methods: A treatment plan QA framework was established and an overlap volume histogram based model was used to predict DVH parameters for cohorts of patients treated in 2018 and 2019 and grouped according to planning technique. A training cohort of 22 re-optimized treatment plans was used to make the prediction model. The prediction model was validated on 95 automatically generated treatment plans (automatically optimized cohort) and 93 manually optimized plans (manually optimized cohort).

Results: For the manually optimized cohort, on average the prediction deviated less than 0.3 ± 1.4 Gy and -4.3 ± 5.5 Gy, for the mean doses to the bowel bag and bladder, respectively; for the automatically optimized cohort a smaller deviation was observed: -0.1 ± 1.1 Gy and -0.2 ± 2.5 Gy, respectively. The interquartile range of DVH parameters was on average smaller for the automatically optimized cohort, indicating less variation within each parameter compared to manual planning.

Conclusion: An automated framework to monitor treatment quality with a DVH prediction model was successfully implemented clinically and revealed less variation in DVH parameters for automated in comparison to manually optimized plans. The framework also allowed for individual feedback and DVH estimation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-80
Number of pages7
JournalPhysics & Imaging in Radiation Oncology
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Treatment planning QA
  • Prediction model
  • Overlap volume histogram (OVH)
  • Knowledge based treatment planning
  • Dose-distance relation
  • IMRT
  • VMAT


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