, Volume 57, Issue 4, pp 1065-1089
Date: 30 Oct 2012

Selection of intensity modulated radiation therapy treatment beam directions using radial basis functions within a pattern search methods framework

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The selection of appropriate radiation incidence directions in radiation therapy treatment planning is important for the quality of the treatment plan, both for appropriate tumor coverage and for better organ sparing. The objective of this paper is to discuss the benefits of using radial basis functions within a pattern search methods framework in the optimization of the highly non-convex beam angle optimization (BAO) problem. Pattern search methods are derivative-free optimization methods that require few function value evaluations to converge and have the ability to avoid local entrapment. These two characteristics gathered together make pattern search methods suited to address the BAO problem. The pattern search methods framework is composed by a search step and a poll step at each iteration. The poll step performs a local search in a mesh neighborhood and assures convergence to a local minimizer or stationary point. The search step provides the flexibility for a global search since it allows searches away from the neighborhood of the current iterate. Radial basis functions are used and tested in this step both to influence the quality of the local minimizer found by the method and to obtain a better coverage of the search space in amplitude. A set of retrospective treated cases of head-and-neck tumors at the Portuguese Institute of Oncology of Coimbra is used to discuss the benefits of using this approach in the optimization of the BAO problem.