Prospective Clinical Validation of Virtual Patient-Specific Quality Assurance of Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy Radiation Therapy Plans

Phillip D.H. Wall, Emily Hirata, Olivier Morin, Gilmer Valdes, Alon Witztum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose: Performing measurement-based patient-specific quality assurance (PSQA) is recognized as a resource-intensive and time inefficient task in the radiation therapy treatment workflow. Paired with technological refinements in modern radiation therapy, research toward measurement-free PSQA has seen increased interest during the past 5 years. However, these efforts have not been clinically implemented or prospectively validated in the United States. We propose a virtual QA (VQA) system and workflow to assess the safety and workload reduction of measurement-free PSQA. Methods: An XGBoost machine learning model was designed to predict PSQA outcomes of volumetric modulated arc therapy plans, represented as percent differences between the measured ion chamber point dose in a phantom and the corresponding planned dose. The final model was deployed within a web application to predict PSQA outcomes of clinical plans within an existing clinical workflow. The application also displays relevant feature importance and plan-specific distribution analyses relative to database plans for documentation and to aid physicist interpretation and evaluation. VQA predictions were prospectively validated over 3 months of measurements at our clinic to assess safety and efficiency gains. Results: Over 3 months, VQA predictions for 445 volumetric modulated arc therapy plans were prospectively validated at our institution. VQA predictions for these plans had a mean absolute error of 1.08% ± 0.77%, with a maximum absolute error of 2.98%. Using a 1% prediction threshold (ie, plans predicted to have an absolute error <1% would not require a measurement) would yield a 69.2% reduction in QA workload, saving 32.5 hours per month on average, with 81.5% sensitivity, 72.4% specificity, and an area under the curve of 0.81 at a 3% clinical threshold and 100% sensitivity, 70% specificity, and an area under the curve of 0.93 at a 4% clinical threshold. Conclusions: This is the first prospective clinical implementation and validation of VQA in the United States, which we observed to be efficient. Using a conservative threshold, VQA can substantially reduce the number of required measurements for PSQA, leading to more effective allocation of clinical resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1091-1102
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022


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