Dose distribution prediction for head-and-neck cancer radiotherapy using a generative adversarial network: influence of input data

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Purpose: A three-dimensional deep generative adversarial network (GAN) was used to predict dose distributions for locally advanced head and neck cancer radiotherapy. Given the labor- and time-intensive nature of manual planning target volume (PTV) and organ-at-risk (OAR) segmentation, we investigated whether dose distributions could be predicted without the need for fully segmented datasets. Materials and methods: GANs were trained/validated/tested using 320/30/35 previously segmented CT datasets and treatment plans. The following input combinations were used to train and test the models: CT-scan only (C); CT+PTVboost/elective (CP); CT+PTVs+OARs+body structure (CPOB); PTVs+OARs+body structure (POB); PTVs+body structure (PB). Mean absolute errors (MAEs) for the predicted dose distribution and mean doses to individual OARs (individual salivary glands, individual swallowing structures) were analyzed. Results: For the five models listed, MAEs were 7.3 Gy, 3.5 Gy, 3.4 Gy, 3.4 Gy, and 3.5 Gy, respectively, without significant differences among CP-CPOB, CP-POB, CP-PB, among CPOB-POB. Dose volume histograms showed that all four models that included PTV contours predicted dose distributions that had a high level of agreement with clinical treatment plans. The best model CPOB and the worst model PB (except model C) predicted mean dose to within ±3 Gy of the clinical dose, for 82.6%/88.6%/82.9% and 71.4%/67.1%/72.2% of all OARs, parotid glands (PG), and submandibular glands (SMG), respectively. The R2 values (0.17/0.96/0.97/0.95/0.95) of OAR mean doses for each model also indicated that except for model C, the predictions correlated highly with the clinical dose distributions. Interestingly model C could reasonably predict the dose in eight patients, but on average, it performed inadequately. Conclusion: We demonstrated the influence of the CT scan, and PTV and OAR contours on dose prediction. Model CP was not statistically different from model CPOB and represents the minimum data statistically required to adequately predict the clinical dose distribution in a group of patients.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1251132
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • OAR sparing
  • artificial intelligence
  • deep learning
  • dose prediction
  • generative adversarial network (GAN)
  • machine learning
  • radiotherapy

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