Radiation Oncology: Future Vision for Quality Assurance and Data Management in Clinical Trials and Translational Science

Front Oncol. 2022 Aug 10:12:931294. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2022.931294. eCollection 2022.


The future of radiation oncology is exceptionally strong as we are increasingly involved in nearly all oncology disease sites due to extraordinary advances in radiation oncology treatment management platforms and improvements in treatment execution. Due to our technology and consistent accuracy, compressed radiation oncology treatment strategies are becoming more commonplace secondary to our ability to successfully treat tumor targets with increased normal tissue avoidance. In many disease sites including the central nervous system, pulmonary parenchyma, liver, and other areas, our service is redefining the standards of care. Targeting of disease has improved due to advances in tumor imaging and application of integrated imaging datasets into sophisticated planning systems which can optimize volume driven plans created by talented personnel. Treatment times have significantly decreased due to volume driven arc therapy and positioning is secured by real time imaging and optical tracking. Normal tissue exclusion has permitted compressed treatment schedules making treatment more convenient for the patient. These changes require additional study to further optimize care. Because data exchange worldwide have evolved through digital platforms and prisms, images and radiation datasets worldwide can be shared/reviewed on a same day basis using established de-identification and anonymization methods. Data storage post-trial completion can co-exist with digital pathomic and radiomic information in a single database coupled with patient specific outcome information and serve to move our translational science forward with nimble query elements and artificial intelligence to ask better questions of the data we collect and collate. This will be important moving forward to validate our process improvements at an enterprise level and support our science. We have to be thorough and complete in our data acquisition processes, however if we remain disciplined in our data management plan, our field can grow further and become more successful generating new standards of care from validated datasets.

Keywords: artificial intelligence; cancer treatment; clinical trial data; clinical trial imaging; clinical trials; quality assurance; radiation therapy (radiotherapy); translational medicine.

Publication types

  • Review