Dose optimization with first-order total-variation minimization for dense angularly sampled and sparse intensity modulated radiation therapy (DASSIM-RT)

Hojin Kim, Ruijiang Li, Rena Lee, Thomas Goldstein, Stephen Boyd, Emmanuel Candes, Lei Xing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose: A new treatment scheme coined as dense angularly sampled and sparse intensity modulated radiation therapy (DASSIM-RT) has recently been proposed to bridge the gap between IMRT and VMAT. By increasing the angular sampling of radiation beams while eliminating dispensable segments of the incident fields, DASSIM-RT is capable of providing improved conformity in dose distributions while maintaining high delivery efficiency. The fact that DASSIM-RT utilizes a large number of incident beams represents a major computational challenge for the clinical applications of this powerful treatment scheme. The purpose of this work is to provide a practical solution to the DASSIM-RT inverse planning problem. Methods: The inverse planning problem is formulated as a fluence-map optimization problem with total-variation (TV) minimization. A newly released L1-solver, template for first-order conic solver (TFOCS), was adopted in this work. TFOCS achieves faster convergence with less memory usage as compared with conventional quadratic programming (QP) for the TV form through the effective use of conic forms, dual-variable updates, and optimal first-order approaches. As such, it is tailored to specifically address the computational challenges of large-scale optimization in DASSIM-RT inverse planning. Two clinical cases (a prostate and a head and neck case) are used to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed planning technique. DASSIM-RT plans with 15 and 30 beams are compared with conventional IMRT plans with 7 beams in terms of plan quality and delivery efficiency, which are quantified by conformation number (CN), the total number of segments and modulation index, respectively. For optimization efficiency, the QP-based approach was compared with the proposed algorithm for the DASSIM-RT plans with 15 beams for both cases. Results: Plan quality improves with an increasing number of incident beams, while the total number of segments is maintained to be about the same in both cases. For the prostate patient, the conformation number to the target was 0.7509, 0.7565, and 0.7611 with 80 segments for IMRT with 7 beams, and DASSIM-RT with 15 and 30 beams, respectively. For the head and neck (HN) patient with a complicated target shape, conformation numbers of the three treatment plans were 0.7554, 0.7758, and 0.7819 with 75 segments for all beam configurations. With respect to the dose sparing to the critical structures, the organs such as the femoral heads in the prostate case and the brainstem and spinal cord in the HN case were better protected with DASSIM-RT. For both cases, the delivery efficiency has been greatly improved as the beam angular sampling increases with the similar or better conformal dose distribution. Compared with conventional quadratic programming approaches, first-order TFOCS-based optimization achieves far faster convergence and smaller memory requirements in DASSIM-RT. Conclusions: The new optimization algorithm TFOCS provides a practical and timely solution to the DASSIM-RT or other inverse planning problem requiring large memory space. The new treatment scheme is shown to outperform conventional IMRT in terms of dose conformity to both the targetand the critical structures, while maintaining high delivery efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4316-4327
Number of pages12
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to acknowledge the support from NCI (1R01 CA133474 and 1R21 408 CA153587) and NSF (0854492), and the Technology Innovation Program (1415109884) funded by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE, Korea).


  • IMRT
  • VMAT
  • compressed sensing
  • total-variation


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