Beam mask and sliding window-facilitated deep learning-based accurate and efficient dose prediction for pencil beam scanning proton therapy
Purpose: To develop a DL-based PBSPT dose prediction workflow with high accuracy and balanced complexity to support on-line adaptive proton therapy clinical decision and subsequent replanning. Methods: PBSPT plans of 103 prostate cancer patients and 83 lung cancer patients previously treated at our institution were included in the study, each with CTs, structure sets, and plan doses calculated by the in-house developed Monte-Carlo dose engine. For the ablation study, we designed three experiments corresponding to the following three methods: 1) Experiment 1, the conventional region of interest (ROI) method. 2) Experiment 2, the beam mask (generated by raytracing of proton beams) method to improve proton dose prediction. 3) Experiment 3, the sliding window method for the model to focus on local details to further improve proton dose prediction. A fully connected 3D-Unet was adopted as the backbone. Dose volume histogram (DVH) indices, 3D Gamma passing rates, and dice coefficients for the structures enclosed by the iso-dose lines between the predicted and the ground truth doses were used as the evaluation metrics. The calculation time for each proton dose prediction was recorded to evaluate the method's efficiency. Results: Compared to the conventional ROI method, the beam mask method improved the agreement of DVH indices for both targets and OARs and the sliding window method further improved the agreement of the DVH indices. For the 3D Gamma passing rates in the target, OARs, and BODY (outside target and OARs), the beam mask method can improve the passing rates in these regions and the sliding window method further improved them. A similar trend was also observed for the dice coefficients. In fact, this trend was especially remarkable for relatively low prescription isodose lines. The dose predictions for all the testing cases were completed within 0.25s.