The automation of radiotherapy treatment planning assessment

Crowe, Scott, Kairn, Tanya, Trapp, Jamie, Hargrave, Catriona Elizabeth, & Bridge, Peter (2014) The automation of radiotherapy treatment planning assessment. In 2014 Combined Scientific Meeting : Imaging and Radiation in Personalised Medicine, 4–7 September 2014, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, Vic.

View at publisher (open access)



The assessment of treatment plans is an important component in the education of radiation therapists. The establishment of a grade for a plan is currently based on subjective assessment of a range of criteria. The automation of assessment could provide a number of advantages including faster feedback, reduced chance of human error, and simpler aggregation of past results.


A collection of treatments planned by a cohort of 27 second year radiation therapy students were selected for quantitative evaluation. Treatment sites included the bladder, cervix, larynx, parotid and prostate, although only the larynx plans had been assessed in detail. The plans were designed with the Pinnacle system and exported using the DICOM framework.

Assessment criteria included beam arrangement optimisation, volume contouring, target dose coverage and homogeneity, and organ-at-risk sparing. The in-house Treatment and Dose Assessor (TADA) software1 was evaluated for suitability in assisting with the quantitative assessment of these plans. Dose volume data were exported in per-student and per-structure data tables, along with beam complexity metrics, dose volume histograms, and reports on naming conventions.


The treatment plans were exported and processed using TADA, with the processing of all 27 plans for each treatment site taking less than two minutes. Naming conventions were successfully checked against a reference protocol. Significant variations between student plans were found. Correlation with assessment feedback was established for the larynx plans.


The data generated could be used to inform the selection of future assessment criteria, monitor student development, and provide useful feedback to the students. The provision of objective, quantitative evaluations of plan quality would be a valuable addition to not only radiotherapy education programmes but also for staff development and potentially credentialing methods. New functionality within TADA developed for this work could be applied clinically to, for example, evaluate protocol compliance.

Impact and interest:

Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

23 since deposited on 08 Sep 2014
23 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 75958
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Abstract published in Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences, 61(S1), pp. 217.
Additional URLs:
Keywords: radiotherapy
DOI: 10.1594/ranzcr2014/R-0232
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHYSICAL SCIENCES (020000) > OTHER PHYSICAL SCIENCES (029900) > Medical Physics (029903)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Schools > School of Clinical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Deposited On: 08 Sep 2014 22:07
Last Modified: 05 May 2017 03:55

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page