Patient-specific voxel-level dose prescription for prostate cancer radiotherapy considering tumor cell density and grade distribution

Yutong Zhao, Annette Haworth, Hayley M. Reynolds, Emily J. Her, Yu Sun, Robert Finnegan, Pejman Rowshanfarzad, Martin A. Ebert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In prostate radiation therapy, recent studies have indicated a benefit in increasing the dose to intraprostatic lesions (IPL) compared with standard whole gland radiation therapy. Such approaches typically aim to deliver a target dose to the IPL(s) with no deliberate effort to modulate the dose within the IPL. Prostate cancers demonstrate intra-tumor heterogeneity and hence it is hypothesized that further gains in the optimal delivery of radiation therapy can be achieved through modulation of the dose distribution within the tumor. To account for tumor heterogeneity, biologically targeted radiation therapy (BiRT) aims to utilize a voxel-wise approach to IPL dose prescription by incorporating knowledge of the spatial distribution of tumor characteristics. Purpose: The aim of this study was to develop a workflow for generating voxel-wise optimal dose prescriptions that maximize patient tumor control probability (TCP), and evaluate the feasibility and benefits of applying this workflow on a cohort of 62 prostate cancer patients. Method: The source data for this proof-of-concept study included high resolution histology images annotated with tumor location and grade. Image processing techniques were used to compute voxel-level cell density distribution maps. An absolute tumor cell distribution was calculated via linearly scaling according to published estimated tumor cell numbers. For the IPLs of each patient, optimal dose prescriptions were obtained via three alternative methods for redistribution of IPL boost doses according to maximization of TCP. The radiosensitivity uncertainties were considered using a truncated log-normally distributed linear radiosensitivity parameter ((Formula presented.)) and compared with Gleason pattern (GP) dependent radiosensitivity parameters that were derived based on previously published methods. An ensemble machine learning method was implemented to identify patient-specific features that predict the TCP improvement resulting from dose redistribution relative to a uniform dose distribution. Results: The Gleason pattern-dependent radiosensitivity parameters were calculated for 20 published prostate cancer (Formula presented.) ratios. Optimal voxel-level dose prescriptions were generated for all 62 PCa patients. For all dose redistribution scenarios, the optimal dose distribution always shows a higher (or equivalent) TCP level than the uniform dose distribution. The applied random forest regressor could predict patient-specific TCP improvement with low root mean square error (≤1.5%) by using total tumor number, volume of IPLs and the standard deviation of tumor cell number among all voxels. Conclusion: Biologically-optimized redistribution of a boost dose can yield TCP improvement relative to a uniform-boost dose distribution. Patient-specific tumor characteristics can be used to predict the likelihood of benefit from a redistribution approach for the individual patient.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3746-3761
Number of pages16
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number6
Early online date15 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


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