Predicting gamma passing rates for portal dosimetry-based IMRT QA using machine learning

Dao Lam, Xizhe Zhang, Harold Li, Yang Deshan, Brayden Schott, Tianyu Zhao, Weixiong Zhang, Sasa Mutic, Baozhou Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Purpose: Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) quality assurance (QA) measurements are routinely performed prior to treatment delivery to verify dose calculation and delivery accuracy. In this work, we applied a machine learning-based approach to predict portal dosimetry based IMRT QA gamma passing rates. Methods: 182 IMRT plans for various treatment sites were planned and delivered with portal dosimetry on two TrueBeam and two Trilogy LINACs. A total of 1497 beams were collected and analyzed using gamma criteria of 2%/2 mm with a 5% threshold. The datasets for building the machine learning models consisted of 1269 beams. Ten-fold cross-validation was utilized to tune the model and prevent “overfitting.” A separate test set with the remaining 228 beams was used to evaluate model performance. Each beam was characterized by a set of 31 features including both plan complexity metrics and machine characteristics. Three tree-based machine learning algorithms (AdaBoost, Random Forest, and XGBoost) were used to train the models and predict gamma passing rates. Results: Both AdaBoost and Random Forest had 98% of predictions within 3% of the measured 2%/2 mm gamma passing rates with a maximum error less than 4% and a mean absolute error < 1%. XGBoost showed a slightly worse prediction accuracy with 95% of the predictions within 3% of the measured gamma passing rates and a maximum error of 4.5%. The three models identified the same nine features in the top 10 most important ones that are related to plan complexity and maximum aperture displacement from the central axis or the maximum jaw size in a beam. Conclusion: We have demonstrated that portal dosimetry IMRT QA gamma passing rates can be accurately predicted using tree-based ensemble learning models. The machine learning based approach allows physicists to better identify the failures of IMRT QA measurements and to develop proactive QA approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4666-4675
Number of pages10
JournalMedical physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • IMRT
  • machine learning
  • portal dosimetry
  • quality assurance


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