Range optimization for mono- and bi-energetic proton modulated arc therapy with pencil beam scanning

Daniel Sanchez-Parcerisa, Maura Kirk, Marcus Fager, Brendan Burgdorf, Malorie Stowe, Tim Solberg, Alejandro Carabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The development of rotational proton therapy plans based on a pencil-beam-scanning (PBS) system has been limited, among several other factors, by the energy-switching time between layers, a system-dependent parameter that ranges between a fraction of a second and several seconds. We are investigating mono- and bi-energetic rotational proton modulated arc therapy (PMAT) solutions that would not be affected by long energy switching times. In this context, a systematic selection of the optimal proton energy for each arc is vital. We present a treatment planning comparison of four different range selection methods, analyzing the dosimetric outcomes of the resulting treatment plans created with the ranges obtained. Given the patient geometry and arc definition (gantry and couch trajectories, snout elevation) our in-house treatment planning system (TPS) FoCa was used to find the maximum, medial and minimum water-equivalent thicknesses (WETs) of the target viewed from all possible field orientations. Optimal ranges were subsequently determined using four methods: (1) by dividing the max/min WET interval into equal steps, (2) by taking the average target midpoints from each field, (3) by taking the average WET of all voxels from all field orientations, and (4) by minimizing the fraction of the target which cannot be reached from any of the available angles. After the range (for mono-energetic plans) or ranges (for bi-energetic plans) were selected, the commercial clinical TPS in use in our institution (Varian Eclipse) was used to produce the PMAT plans using multifield optimization. Linear energy transfer (LET) distributions of all plans were also calculated using FoCa and compared among the different methods. Mono- and bi-energetic PMAT plans, composed of a single 180° arc, were created for two patient geometries: a C-shaped target located in the mediastinal area of a thoracic tissue-equivalent phantom and a small brain tumor located directly above the brainstem. All plans were optimized using the same procedure to (1) achieve target coverage, (2) reduce dose to OAR and (3) limit dose hot spots in the target. Final outcomes were compared in terms of the resulting dose and LET distributions. Data shows little significant differences among the four studied methods, with superior results obtained with mono-energetic plans. A streamlined systematic method has been implemented in an in-house TPS to find the optimal range to maximize target coverage with rotational mono- or bi-energetic PBS rotational plans by minimizing the fraction of the target that cannot be reached by any direction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)N565-N574
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number21
StatePublished - Oct 14 2016


  • arc therapy
  • pencil beam scanning
  • protontherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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