Influence of dose calculation algorithms on the predicted dose distribution and NTCP values for NSCLC patients

Med Phys. 2011 May;38(5):2412-8. doi: 10.1118/1.3575418.


Purpose: To investigate differences in calculated doses and normal tissue complication probability (NTCP) values between different dose algorithms.

Methods: Six dose algorithms from four different treatment planning systems were investigated: Eclipse AAA, Oncentra MasterPlan Collapsed Cone and Pencil Beam, Pinnacle Collapsed Cone and XiO Multigrid Superposition, and Fast Fourier Transform Convolution. Twenty NSCLC patients treated in the period 2001-2006 at the same accelerator were included and the accelerator used for treatments were modeled in the different systems. The treatment plans were recalculated with the same number of monitor units and beam arrangements across the dose algorithms. Dose volume histograms of the GTV, PTV, combined lungs (excluding the GTV), and heart were exported and evaluated. NTCP values for heart and lungs were calculated using the relative seriality model and the LKB model, respectively. Furthermore, NTCP for the lungs were calculated from two different model parameter sets. Calculations and evaluations were performed both including and excluding density corrections.

Results: There are found statistical significant differences between the calculated dose to heart, lung, and targets across the algorithms. Mean lung dose and V20 are not very sensitive to change between the investigated dose calculation algorithms. However, the different dose levels for the PTV averaged over the patient population are varying up to 11%. The predicted NTCP values for pneumonitis vary between 0.20 and 0.24 or 0.35 and 0.48 across the investigated dose algorithms depending on the chosen model parameter set. The influence of the use of density correction in the dose calculation on the predicted NTCP values depends on the specific dose calculation algorithm and the model parameter set. For fixed values of these, the changes in NTCP can be up to 45%.

Conclusions: Calculated NTCP values for pneumonitis are more sensitive to the choice of algorithm than mean lung dose and V20 which are also commonly used for plan evaluation. The NTCP values for heart complication are, in this study, not very sensitive to the choice of algorithm. Dose calculations based on density corrections result in quite different NTCP values than calculations without density corrections. It is therefore important when working with NTCP planning to use NTCP parameter values based on calculations and treatments similar to those for which the NTCP is of interest.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / radiotherapy*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radiometry / methods*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity