PurposeThe accuracy of dose prediction is essential for knowledge-based planning and automated planning techniques. We compare the dose prediction accuracy of 3 prediction methods including statistical voxel dose learning, spectral regression, and support vector regression based on limited patient training data.
MethodsStatistical voxel dose learning, spectral regression, and support vector regression were used to predict the dose of noncoplanar intensity-modulated radiation therapy (4π) and volumetric-modulated arc therapy head and neck, 4π lung, and volumetric-modulated arc therapy prostate plans. Twenty cases of each site were used for k-fold cross-validation, with k = 4. Statistical voxel dose learning bins voxels according to their Euclidean distance to the planning target volume and uses the median to predict the dose of new voxels. Distance to the planning target volume, polynomial combinations of the distance components, planning target volume, and organ at risk volume were used as features for spectral regression and support vector regression. A total of 28 features were included. Principal component analysis was performed on the input features to test the effect of dimension reduction. For the coplanar volumetric-modulated arc therapy plans, separate models were trained for voxels within the same axial slice as planning target volume voxels and voxels outside the primary beam. The effect of training separate models for each organ at risk compared to all voxels collectively was also tested. The mean squared error was calculated to evaluate the voxel dose prediction accuracy.
ResultsStatistical voxel dose learning using separate models for each organ at risk had the lowest root mean squared error for all sites and modalities: 3.91 Gy (head and neck 4π), 3.21 Gy (head and neck volumetric-modulated arc therapy), 2.49 Gy (lung 4π), and 2.35 Gy (prostate volumetric-modulated arc therapy). Compared to using the original features, principal component analysis reduced the 4π prediction error for head and neck spectral regression (-43.9%) and support vector regression (-42.8%) and lung support vector regression (-24.4%) predictions. Principal component analysis was more effective in using all/most of the possible principal components. Separate organ at risk models were more accurate than training on all organ at risk voxels in all cases.
ConclusionCompared with more sophisticated parametric machine learning methods with dimension reduction, statistical voxel dose learning is more robust to patient variability and provides the most accurate dose prediction method.