Purpose: The quality of a treatment plan for stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) depends on an experience of each treatment planner. Therefore, the treatment plans are subjectively determined by comparison of several treatment plans developed by time consuming iterative manners, while considering the benefit to a tumor and the risk to the surrounding normal tissues. The aim of our study was to develop an automated optimization method for beam arrangements based on similar cases in a database including plans designed by senior experienced treatment planners. Methods: Our proposed method consists of three steps. First, similar cases were automatically selected based on image features from the treatment planning point of view. We defined four types of image features relevant to planning target volume (PTV) location, PTV shape, lung size, and spinal cord positional features. Second, the beam angles of the similar case were registered to the objective case with respect to lung regions using a linear registration technique. Third, the beam direction of the objective case was locally optimized based on the cost function considering radiation absorption in normal tissues and organs at risk. The proposed method was evaluated with 10 test cases and a treatment planning database including 81 cases by using eight planning evaluation indices such as D95, lung V20, and maximum spinal cord dose. Results: The proposed method may provide usable beam directions, which have no statistically significant differences with the original beam directions (P > 0.05) in terms of the seven planning evaluation indices. Moreover, the mean value of D95 for 10 test cases was improved with a statistically significant difference by using the proposed method, compared with the original beam directions (P = 0.03). Conclusions: The proposed method could be used as a computer‐assisted treatment planning tool for determination of beam directions in SBRT.
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