Automated radiotherapy treatment plan integrity verification

Deshan Yang, Kevin L. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Purpose: In our clinic, physicists spend from 15 to 60 min to verify the physical and dosimetric integrity of radiotherapy plans before presentation to radiation oncology physicians for approval. The purpose of this study was to design and implement a framework to automate as many elements of this quality control (QC) step as possible. Methods: A comprehensive computer application was developed to carry out a majority of these verification tasks in the Philips PINNACLE treatment planning system (TPS). This QC tool functions based on both PINNACLE scripting elements and PERL sub-routines. The core of this technique is the method of dynamic scripting, which involves a PERL programming module that is flexible and powerful for treatment plan data handling. Run-time plan data are collected, saved into temporary files, and analyzed against standard values and predefined logical rules. The results were summarized in a hypertext markup language (HTML) report that is displayed to the user. Results: This tool has been in clinical use for over a year. The occurrence frequency of technical problems, which would cause delays and suboptimal plans, has been reduced since clinical implementation. Conclusions: In addition to drastically reducing the set of human-driven logical comparisons, this QC tool also accomplished some tasks that are otherwise either quite laborious or impractical for humans to verify, e.g., identifying conflicts amongst IMRT optimization objectives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1542-1551
Number of pages10
JournalMedical physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • quality assurance
  • quality control
  • treatment planning


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