Treatment Planning for Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT)

  • J. L. Bedford
Part of the IFMBE Proceedings book series (IFMBE, volume 25/1)


Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) is a specific type of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) in which the gantry speed, multileaf collimator (MLC) leaf position and dose rate vary continuously during delivery. A treatment planning system for VMAT is presented.

Arc control points are created uniformly throughout one or more arcs. An iterative least-squares algorithm is used to generate a fluence profile at every control point. The control points are then grouped and all of the control points in a given group are used to approximate the fluence profiles. A directaperture optimization is then used to improve the solution, taking into account the allowed range of leaf motion of the multileaf collimator. Dose is calculated using a fast convolution algorithm and the motion between control points is approximated by 100 interpolated dose calculation points. The method has been applied to five cases, consisting of lung, rectum, prostate and seminal vesicles, prostate and pelvic lymph nodes, and head and neck. The resulting plans have been compared with segmental (step-and-shoot) IMRT and delivered and verified on an Elekta Synergy to ensure practicality.

For the lung, prostate and seminal vesicles and rectum cases, VMAT provides a plan of similar quality to segmental IMRT, but with faster delivery by up to a factor of four. For the prostate and pelvic nodes and head and neck cases, the critical structure doses are reduced with VMAT, both of these cases having a longer delivery time than IMRT. All cases have been shown to verify successfully.

Depending upon the emphasis in the treatment planning, VMAT provides treatment plans which are higher in quality and/or faster to deliver than IMRT. The scheme described has been successfully introduced into clinical use.


Intensity-modulated arc therapy IMAT segmental step-and-shoot IMRT 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. L. Bedford
    • 1
  1. 1.Joint Department of PhysicsThe Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation TrustSuttonUK

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