Purpose: We propose a general framework for quantifying predictive uncertainties of dose-related quantities and leveraging this information in a dose mimicking problem in the context of automated radiation therapy treatment planning.
Methods: A three-step pipeline, comprising feature extraction, dose statistic prediction and dose mimicking, is employed. In particular, the features are produced by a convolutional variational autoencoder and used as inputs in a previously developed nonparametric Bayesian statistical method, estimating the multivariate predictive distribution of a collection of predefined dose statistics. Specially developed objective functions are then used to construct a dose mimicking problem based on the produced distributions, creating deliverable treatment plans.
Results: The numerical experiments are performed using a dataset of 94 retrospective treatment plans of prostate cancer patients. We show that the features extracted by the variational autoencoder captures geometric information of substantial relevance to the dose statistic prediction problem, that the estimated predictive distributions are reasonable and outperforms a benchmark method, and that the deliverable plans agree well with their clinical counterparts.
Conclusion: We demonstrate that prediction of dose-related quantities may be extended to include uncertainty estimation and that such probabilistic information may be leveraged in a dose mimicking problem. The treatment plans produced by the proposed pipeline resemble their original counterparts well, illustrating the merits of a holistic approach to automated planning based on probabilistic modeling.