SU‐E‐T‐503: IMRT Optimization Using Monte Carlo Dose Engine: The Effect of Statistical Uncertainty

Z. Tian, X. Jia, Y. Graves, A. Uribe‐sanchez, S. Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: With the development of ultra‐fast GPU‐based Monte Carlo (MC) dose engine, it becomes clinically realistic to compute the dose‐deposition coefficients (DDC) for IMRT optimization using MC simulation. However, it is still time‐consuming if we want to compute DDC with small statistical uncertainty. This work studies the effects of the statistical error in DDC matrix on IMRT optimization. Methods: The MC‐computed DDC matrices are simulated here by adding statistical uncertainties at a desired level to the ones generated with a finite‐size pencil beam algorithm. A statistical uncertainty model for MC dose calculation is employed. We adopt a penalty‐based quadratic optimization model and gradient descent method to optimize fluence map and then recalculate the corresponding actual dose distribution using the noise‐free DDC matrix. The impacts of DDC noise are assessed in terms of the deviation of the resulted dose distributions. We have also used a stochastic perturbation theory to theoretically estimate the statistical errors of dose distributions on a simplified optimization model. Results: A head‐and‐neck case is used to investigate the perturbation to IMRT plan due to MC's statistical uncertainty. The relative errors of the final dose distributions of the optimized IMRT are found to be much smaller than those in the DDC matrix, which is consistent with our theoretical estimation. When history number is decreased from 108 to 106, the dose‐volume‐histograms are still very similar to the error‐free DVHs while the error in DDC is about 3.8%. Conclusions: The results illustrate that the statistical errors in the DDC matrix have a relatively small effect on IMRT optimization in dose domain. This indicates we can use relatively small number of histories to obtain the DDC matrix with MC simulation within a reasonable amount of time, without considerably compromising the accuracy of the optimized treatment plan. This work is supported by Varian Medical Systems through a Master Research Agreement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3821
Number of pages1
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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