Integrated software tools for the evaluation of radiotherapy treatment plans

Robert E. Drzymala, Michael D. Holman, Di Yan, William B. Harms, Nilesh L. Jain, Michael G. Kahn, Bahman Emami, James A. Purdy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Purpose: This article announces the availability of a convenient and useful software environment for the evaluation of three-dimensional (3D) radiotherapy treatment plans. Materials and Methods: Using standards such as American National Standards for Information Systems C and the X Window System allowed us to bring the computation and display of dose-volume histograms, dose statistics, tumor control probabilities, normal tissue complication probabilities, and a figure of merit together under one user interface. These plan evaluation tools are not stand alone, but must interact with a 3D radiation therapy planning system to obtain the required dose matrices and patient anatomical contours. Installation of the software involves a programmer who writes a software bridge between the radiation therapy planning system and the tools, thereby providing access to local data files. This design strategy confines portability issues to one area of the software. Results: Access to the other tools is through the Graphical Plan Evaluation Tool (GPET). GPET coordinates the use of each of the tools and provides graphical facilities for display of their results. Importantly, GPET assures that the displayed results of each tool have been computed with the same input specifications for all treatment plans being compared. For added convenience, the user can rearrange the resultant data to be reviewed in various ways on the video screen. The software design also allows incorporation of customized algorithms and input data for computing tumor control probability and normal tissue complication probabilities, since those currently available are controversial. Conclusion: The Graphical Plan Evaluation Tool unifies the simultaneous computation for several analytical tools and graphical display of their results. Within the constraints of the X Window System environment, this assemblage of software tools provides a portable, flexible, and convenient method for the quantitative evaluation of several radiotherapy treatment plans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)909-919
Number of pages11
JournalInternational journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 15 1994


  • Evaluation
  • Radiotherapy
  • Treatment planning


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