Accurate and Fast Deep Learning Dose Prediction for a Preclinical Microbeam Radiation Therapy Study Using Low-Statistics Monte Carlo Simulations
Microbeam radiation therapy (MRT) utilizes coplanar synchrotron radiation beamlets and is a proposed treatment approach for several tumor diagnoses that currently have poor clinical treatment outcomes, such as gliosarcomas. Monte Carlo (MC) simulations are one of the most used methods at the Imaging and Medical Beamline, Australian Synchrotron to calculate the dose in MRT preclinical studies. The steep dose gradients associated with the 50 (Formula presented.) m-wide coplanar beamlets present a significant challenge for precise MC simulation of the dose deposition of an MRT irradiation treatment field in a short time frame. The long computation times inhibit the ability to perform dose optimization in treatment planning or apply online image-adaptive radiotherapy techniques to MRT. Much research has been conducted on fast dose estimation methods for clinically available treatments. However, such methods, including GPU Monte Carlo implementations and machine learning (ML) models, are unavailable for novel and emerging cancer radiotherapy options such as MRT. In this work, the successful application of a fast and accurate ML dose prediction model for a preclinical MRT rodent study is presented for the first time. The ML model predicts the peak doses in the path of the microbeams and the valley doses between them, delivered to the tumor target in rat patients. A CT imaging dataset is used to generate digital phantoms for each patient. Augmented variations of the digital phantoms are used to simulate with Geant4 the energy depositions of an MRT beam inside the phantoms with 15% (high-noise) and 2% (low-noise) statistical uncertainty. The high-noise MC simulation data are used to train the ML model to predict the energy depositions in the digital phantoms. The low-noise MC simulations data are used to test the predictive power of the ML model. The predictions of the ML model show an agreement within 3% with low-noise MC simulations for at least 77.6% of all predicted voxels (at least 95.9% of voxels containing tumor) in the case of the valley dose prediction and for at least 93.9% of all predicted voxels (100.0% of voxels containing tumor) in the case of the peak dose prediction. The successful use of high-noise MC simulations for the training, which are much faster to produce, accelerates the production of the training data of the ML model and encourages transfer of the ML model to different treatment modalities for other future applications in novel radiation cancer therapies.
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