Performance assessment of variant UNet-based deep-learning dose engines for MR-Linac-based prostate IMRT plans

Phys Med Biol. 2023 Aug 11;68(17). doi: 10.1088/1361-6560/aceb2c.


Objective. UNet-based deep-learning (DL) architectures are promising dose engines for traditional linear accelerator (Linac) models. Current UNet-based engines, however, were designed differently with various strategies, making it challenging to fairly compare the results from different studies. The objective of this study is to thoroughly evaluate the performance of UNet-based models on magnetic-resonance (MR)-Linac-based intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) dose calculations.Approach. The UNet-based models, including the standard-UNet, cascaded-UNet, dense-dilated-UNet, residual-UNet, HD-UNet, and attention-aware-UNet, were implemented. The model input is patient CT and IMRT field dose in water, and the output is patient dose calculated by DL model. The reference dose was calculated by the Monaco Monte Carlo module. Twenty training and ten test cases of prostate patients were included. The accuracy of the DL-calculated doses was measured using gamma analysis, and the calculation efficiency was evaluated by inference time.Results. All the studied models effectively corrected low-accuracy doses in water to high-accuracy patient doses in a magnetic field. The gamma passing rates between reference and DL-calculated doses were over 86% (1%/1 mm), 98% (2%/2 mm), and 99% (3%/3 mm) for all the models. The inference times ranged from 0.03 (graphics processing unit) to 7.5 (central processing unit) seconds. Each model demonstrated different strengths in calculation accuracy and efficiency; Res-UNet achieved the highest accuracy, HD-UNet offered high accuracy with the fewest parameters but the longest inference, dense-dilated-UNet was consistently accurate regardless of model levels, standard-UNet had the shortest inference but relatively lower accuracy, and the others showed average performance. Therefore, the best-performing model would depend on the specific clinical needs and available computational resources.Significance. The feasibility of using common UNet-based models for MR-Linac-based dose calculations has been explored in this study. By using the same model input type, patient training data, and computing environment, a fair assessment of the models' performance was present.

Keywords: IMRT; MR-linac; deep learning; dose calculation engine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Deep Learning*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Particle Accelerators
  • Prostate
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated* / methods