Innovations in three-dimensional treatment planning and quality assurance

Jeff M. Michalski, James A. Purdy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Radiation therapy treatment planning and treatment delivery are in the process of changing dramatically over the next several years. This change has been driven in large part by continued advances in computer hardware and software and in medical imaging. Three-dimensional radiation treatment planning systems are rapidly being implemented in clinics around the world. These developments in turn have prompted manufacturers to employ advanced microcircuitry and computer technology to produce treatment delivery systems capable of precise shaping of dose distributions via computer-controlled multileaf collimators which cause the beam intensity to be varied across the beam. Image-based 3D planning and beam intensity modulated delivery systems show significant potential for improving the quality of radiotherapy and improving the efficiency with which radiation therapy can be planned and delivered. However, significant research and development work on these systems and their clinical use remains to be performed. The techniques used for the treatment planning and the methods used for quality assurance procedures and testing must all be revised and/or redesigned to allow efficient clinical use of these technological advances. Although much of the current 3D radiation therapy process requires interactive tasks (and some still very laborious) the path is clear toward solving he technological obstacles so that a nearly automated planning, delivery, and verification system will become a reality over the next decade. Such systems will allow radiation oncologists to significantly increase dose to many tumor sites while concomitantly increase dose to many tumor sites while concomitantly lowering doses to critical organs-at-risk. Most of the tasks will be automated, thus lowering the overall costs currently needed to provide high- quality external beam radiation therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-139
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998


  • Conformal radiation therapy
  • Quality assurance
  • Three dimensional treatment planning


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