Dose kernel decomposition for spot-based radiotherapy treatment planning

Mingli Chen, Zi Yang, Zabi Wardak, Strahinja Stojadinovic, Xuejun Gu, Weiguo Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Pre-calculation of accurate dose deposition kernels for treatment planning of spot-based radiotherapies, such as Gamma Knife (GK) and Gamma Pod (GP), can be very time-consuming and may require large data storage with an enormous number of possible spots. We proposed a novel kernel decomposition (KD) model to address accurate and fast (real-time) dose calculation with reduced data storage requirements for spot-based treatment planning. The application of the KD model was demonstrated for clinical GK and GP radiotherapy platforms. Methods: The dose deposition kernel at each spot (shot position) is modeled as the product of a shift-invariant kernel based on a reference kernel and spatially variant scale factor. The reference kernel, one for each collimator, is defined at the center of the commissioning phantom for GK and at the center of the treatment target for GP and calculated using the Monte Carlo (MC) method. The spatially variant scale factor is defined as the ratio of the mean tissue maximum ratio (TMR) at the candidate shot position to that at the reference kernel position, and the mean TMR map is calculated within the entire volume through parallel beam ray tracing on the density image followed by averaging over all source directions. The proposed KD dose calculations were compared with the MC method and with the GK and GP treatment planning system (TPS) computations for various shot positions and collimator sizes utilizing a phantom and 14 and 12 clinical plans for GK and GP, respectively. Results: For the phantom study, the KD Gamma index (3%/1 mm) passing rates were greater than 99% (median 100%) relative to the MC doses, except for the shots close to the boundary. The passing rates dropped below 90% for 8 mm (16 mm) shots positioned within ∼1 cm (∼2 cm) of the boundary. For the clinical GK plans, the KD Gamma passing rates were greater than 99% (median 100%) compared to the MC and greater than 92% (median 99%) compared to the TPS. For the clinical GP plans, the KD Gamma passing rates were greater than 95% (median 98%) compared to the MC and greater than 91% (median 97%) compared to the TPS. The scale factors were calculated in sub-seconds with GPU implementation and only need to be calculated once before treatment plan optimization. The calculation of the dose kernel was also within sub-seconds without requiring beam-by-beam calculation commonly done in the TPS. Conclusion: The proposed model can provide an accurate dose and enables real-time dose and derivative calculations by kernel shifting and scaling without pre-calculating or requiring large data storage for GK and GP dose deposition kernels during treatment planning. This model could be useful for spot-based radiotherapy treatment planning by allowing an efficient global fine search for optimal spots.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1196-1208
Number of pages13
JournalMedical physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Gamma Knife
  • Gamma Pod
  • kernel decomposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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