An innovative, simple, and fast method to optimize the number and position of catheters is presented for prostate and breast high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy, both for arbitrary templates or template-free implants (such as robotic templates).
Eight clinical cases were chosen randomly from a bank of patients, previously treated in our clinic to test our method. The 2D Centroidal Voronoi Tessellations (CVT) algorithm was adapted to distribute catheters uniformly in space, within the maximum external contour of the planning target volume. The catheters optimization procedure includes the inverse planning simulated annealing algorithm (IPSA). Complete treatment plans can then be generated from the algorithm for different number of catheters. The best plan is chosen from different dosimetry criteria and will automatically provide the number of catheters and their positions. After the CVT algorithm parameters were optimized for speed and dosimetric results, it was validated against prostate clinical cases, using clinically relevant dose parameters. The robustness to implantation error was also evaluated. Finally, the efficiency of the method was tested in breast interstitial HDR brachytherapy cases.
The effect of the number and locations of the catheters on prostate cancer patients was studied. Treatment plans with a better or equivalent dose distributions could be obtained with fewer catheters. A better or equal prostate V100 was obtained down to 12 catheters. Plans with nine or less catheters would not be clinically acceptable in terms of prostate V100 and D90. Implantation errors up to 3 mm were acceptable since no statistical difference was found when compared to 0 mm error (p > 0.05). No significant difference in dosimetric indices was observed for the different combination of parameters within the CVT algorithm. A linear relation was found between the number of random points and the optimization time of the CVT algorithm. Because the computation time decrease with the number of points and that no effects were observed on the dosimetric indices when varying the number of sampling points and the number of iterations, they were respectively fixed to 2500 and to 100. The computation time to obtain ten complete treatments plans ranging from 9 to 18 catheters, with the corresponding dosimetric indices, was 90 s. However, 93% of the computation time is used by a research version of IPSA. For the breast, on average, the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group recommendations would be satisfied down to 12 catheters. Plans with nine or less catheters would not be clinically acceptable in terms of V100, dose homogeneity index, and D90.
The authors have devised a simple, fast and efficient method to optimize the number and position of catheters in interstitial HDR brachytherapy. The method was shown to be robust for both prostate and breast HDR brachytherapy. More importantly, the computation time of the algorithm is acceptable for clinical use. Ultimately, this catheter optimization algorithm could be coupled with a 3D ultrasound system to allow real-time guidance and planning in HDR brachytherapy.
This research has been financed by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Grant No. 222048. The authors want to acknowledge the help of Janelle Morrier and Nicolas Varfalvy for their different contributions. Eric Poulin is financially supported by a PhD scholarship from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
II. METHODS AND MATERIALS
II.A. Catheter optimization algorithm
II.B. Validation study
II.C. Breast study
II.D. Statistical analysis and dosimetry
III.A. Catheter optimization algorithm
III.B. Validation study
III.C. Breast study
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