IMRT treatment planning based on prioritizing prescription goals

Jan J. Wilkens, James R. Alaly, Konstantin Zakarian, Wade L. Thorstad, Joseph O. Deasy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Determining the 'best' optimization parameters in IMRT planning is typically a time-consuming trial-and-error process with no unambiguous termination point. Recently we and others proposed a goal-programming approach which better captures the desired prioritization of dosimetric goals. Here, individual prescription goals are addressed stepwise in their order of priority. In the first step, only the highest order goals are considered (target coverage and dose-limiting normal structures). In subsequent steps, the achievements of the previous steps are turned into hard constraints and lower priority goals are optimized, in turn, subject to higher priority constraints. So-called 'slip' factors were introduced to allow for slight, clinically acceptable violations of the constraints. Focusing on head and neck cases, we present several examples for this planning technique. The main advantages of the new optimization method are (i) its ability to generate plans that meet the clinical goals, as well as possible, without tuning any weighting factors or dose-volume constraints, and (ii) the ability to conveniently include more terms such as fluence map smoothness. Lower level goals can be optimized to the achievable limit without compromising higher order goals. The prioritized prescription-goal planning method allows for a more intuitive and human-time-efficient way of dealing with conflicting goals compared to the conventional trial-and-error method of varying weighting factors and dose-volume constraints.

Original languageEnglish
Article number009
Pages (from-to)1675-1692
Number of pages18
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 21 2007


Dive into the research topics of 'IMRT treatment planning based on prioritizing prescription goals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this