Simultaneous needle catheter selection and dwell time optimization for preplanning of high-dose-rate brachytherapy of prostate cancer

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4 Scopus citations


Purpose. Needle catheter positions critically affect the quality of treatment plans in prostate cancer high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy. The current standard needle positioning approach is based on human intuition, which cannot guarantee a high-quality plan. This study proposed a method to simultaneously select needle catheter positions and determine dwell time for preplanning of HDR brachytherapy of prostate cancer. Methods. We formulated the needle catheter selection problem and inverse dwell time optimization problem in a unified framework. In addition to the dose objectives of the planning target volume (PTV) and organs at risk (OARs), the objective function incorporated a group-sparsity term with a needle-specific adaptive weighting scheme to generate high-quality plans with the minimal number of needle catheters. The optimization problem was solved by a fast-iterative shrinkage-thresholding algorithm. For validation purposes, we tested the proposed algorithm on 10 patient cases previously treated at our institution and compared the resulting plans with plans generated using needle catheters selected manually. Results. Compared to the plan with manually selected needle catheters, when normalizing both plans to the same PTV coverage V 100% = 95%, the plans generated by the proposed algorithm reduced median V 125% from 65% to 64%, but increased median V 150% from 35% to 38%, and V 200% from 14% to 16%. All planning objectives were met. All clinically important dosimetric parameters of OARs were reduced. D 1cc of bladder and rectum were reduced from 8.57 Gy to 8.50 Gy and from 7.24 Gy to 6.80 Gy, respectively. D max of urethra was reduced from 15.85 Gy to 15.77 Gy. The median number of selected needle catheters was reduced by two. The computational time for solving the proposed optimization problem was ∼90 s using MATLAB. Conclusion. The proposed algorithm was able to generate plans for prostate cancer HDR brachytherapy preplanning with increased median conformity index (0.73-0.77) and slightly lower median homogeneity index (0.64-0.62) with the number of selected needles reduced by two compared to the manual needle selection approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number055028
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 7 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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