Dose to mass for evaluation and optimization of lung cancer radiation therapy

William Tyler Watkins, Joseph A. Moore, Geoffrey D. Hugo, Jeffrey V. Siebers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose To evaluate potential organ at risk dose-sparing by using dose-mass-histogram (DMH) objective functions compared with dose-volume-histogram (DVH) objective functions. Methods Treatment plans were retrospectively optimized for 10 locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients based on DVH and DMH objectives. DMH-objectives were the same as DVH objectives, but with mass replacing volume. Plans were normalized to dose to 95% of the PTV volume (PTV-D95v) or mass (PTV-D95m). For a given optimized dose, DVH and DMH were intercompared to ascertain dose-to-volume vs. dose-to-mass differences. Additionally, the optimized doses were intercompared using DVH and DMH metrics to ascertain differences in optimized plans. Mean dose to volume, Dv‾, mean dose to mass, DM‾, and fluence maps were intercompared. Results For a given dose distribution, DVH and DMH differ by >5% in heterogeneous structures. In homogeneous structures including heart and spinal cord, DVH and DMH are nearly equivalent. At fixed PTV-D95v, DMH-optimization did not significantly reduce dose to OARs but reduced PTV-Dv‾ by 0.20 ± 0.2 Gy (p = 0.02) and PTV-DM‾ by 0.23 ± 0.3 Gy (p = 0.02). Plans normalized to PTV-D95m also result in minor PTV dose reductions and esophageal dose sparing (Dv‾ reduced 0.45 ± 0.5 Gy, p = 0.02 and DM‾ reduced 0.44 ± 0.5 Gy, p = 0.02) compared to DVH-optimized plans. Optimized fluence map comparisons indicate that DMH optimization reduces dose in the periphery of lung PTVs. Conclusions DVH- and DMH-dose indices differ by >5% in lung and lung target volumes for fixed dose distributions, but optimizing DMH did not reduce dose to OARs. The primary difference observed in DVH- and DMH-optimized plans were variations in fluence to the periphery of lung target PTVs, where low density lung surrounds tumor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-350
Number of pages7
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • DMH optimization
  • Lung cancer radiation therapy
  • Mass optimization
  • Radiation therapy optimization


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