Accurate assessment of a Dutch practical robustness evaluation protocol in clinical PT with pencil beam scanning for neurological tumors

Jesús Rojo-Santiago*, Steven J.M. Habraken, Danny Lathouwers, Alejandra Méndez Romero, Zoltán Perkó, Mischa S. Hoogeman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
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Background and purpose: Scenario-based robust optimization and evaluation are commonly used in proton therapy (PT) with pencil beam scanning (PBS) to ensure adequate dose to the clinical target volume (CTV). However, a statistically accurate assessment of the clinical application of this approach is lacking. In this study, we assess target dose in a clinical cohort of neuro-oncological patients, planned according to the DUPROTON robustness evaluation consensus, using polynomial chaos expansion (PCE). Materials and methods: A cohort of the first 27 neuro-oncological patients treated at HollandPTC was used, including realistic error distributions derived from geometrical and stopping-power prediction (SPP) errors. After validating the model, PCE-based robustness evaluations were performed by simulating 100.000 complete fractionated treatments per patient to obtain accurate statistics on clinically relevant dosimetric parameters and population-dose histograms. Results: Treatment plans that were robust according to clinical protocol and treatment plansin which robustness was sacrificed are easily identified. For robust treatment plans on average, a CTV dose of 3 percentage points (p.p.) more than prescribed was realized (range +2.7 p.p. to +3.5 p.p.) for 98% of the sampled fractionated treatments. For the entire patient cohort on average, a CTV dose of 0.1 p.p. less than prescribed was achieved (range −2.4 p.p. to +0.5 p.p.). For the 6 treatment plans in which robustness was clinically sacrificed, normalized CTV doses of 0.98, 0.94(7)1, 0.94, 0.91, 0.90 and 0.89 were realized. The first of these was clinically borderline non-robust. Conclusion: The clinical robustness evaluation protocol is safe in terms of CTV dose as all plans that fulfilled the clinical robustness criteria were also robust in the PCE evaluation. Moreover, for plans that were non-robust in the PCE-based evaluation, CTV dose was also lower than prescribed in the clinical evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-127
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • DUPROTON robustness protocol
  • Intensity-modulated proton therapy
  • Neurological tumors
  • Polynomial chaos expansion
  • Robust treatment planning
  • Setup and range errors


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