Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 329214, 13 pages
Research Article

(Radio)Biological Optimization of External-Beam Radiotherapy

Physics Department, Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, Bebington CH63 4JY, UK

Received 19 July 2012; Accepted 31 August 2012

Academic Editor: Eva Bezak

Copyright © 2012 Alan E. Nahum and Julien Uzan. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


“Biological optimization” (BIOP) means planning treatments using (radio)biological criteria and models, that is, tumour control probability and normal-tissue complication probability. Four different levels of BIOP are identified: Level I is “isotoxic” individualization of prescription dose at fixed fraction number. is varied to keep the NTCP of the organ at risk constant. Significant improvements in local control are expected for non-small-cell lung tumours. Level II involves the determination of an individualized isotoxic combination of and fractionation scheme. This approach is appropriate for “parallel” OARs (lung, parotids). Examples are given using our BioSuite software. Hypofractionated SABR for early-stage NSCLC is effectively Level-II BIOP. Level-III BIOP uses radiobiological functions as part of the inverse planning of IMRT, for example, maximizing TCP whilst not exceeding a given NTCP. This results in non-uniform target doses. The NTCP model parameters (reflecting tissue “architecture”) drive the optimizer to emphasize different regions of the DVH, for example, penalising high doses for quasi-serial OARs such as rectum. Level-IV BIOP adds functional imaging information, for example, hypoxia or clonogen location, to Level III; examples are given of our prostate “dose painting” protocol, BioProp. The limitations of and uncertainties inherent in the radiobiological models are emphasized.