Threshold-driven optimization for reference-based auto-planning

Troy Long, Mingli Chen, Steve Jiang, Weiguo Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We study threshold-driven optimization methodology for automatically generating a treatment plan that is motivated by a reference DVH for IMRT treatment planning. We present a framework for threshold-driven optimization for reference-based auto-planning (TORA). Commonly used voxel-based quadratic penalties have two components for penalizing under- and over-dosing of voxels: a reference dose threshold and associated penalty weight. Conventional manual- and auto-planning using such a function involves iteratively updating the preference weights while keeping the thresholds constant, an unintuitive and often inconsistent method for planning toward some reference DVH. However, driving a dose distribution by threshold values instead of preference weights can achieve similar plans with less computational effort. The proposed methodology spatially assigns reference DVH information to threshold values, and iteratively improves the quality of that assignment. The methodology effectively handles both sub-optimal and infeasible DVHs. TORA was applied to a prostate case and a liver case as a proof-of-concept. Reference DVHs were generated using a conventional voxel-based objective, then altered to be either infeasible or easy-to-achieve. TORA was able to closely recreate reference DVHs in 5-15 iterations of solving a simple convex sub-problem. TORA has the potential to be effective for auto-planning based on reference DVHs. As dose prediction and knowledge-based planning becomes more prevalent in the clinical setting, incorporating such data into the treatment planning model in a clear, efficient way will be crucial for automated planning. A threshold-focused objective tuning should be explored over conventional methods of updating preference weights for DVH-guided treatment planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04NT01
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 8 2018


  • automated planning
  • knowledge-based planning
  • treatment plan optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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