A method for quantitative visualization of the uncertainty in the predicted tumor control probability (TCP) and normal tissue complication probability (NTCP) in radiotherapy has been developed. Uncertainties of TCP and NTCP due to inter-individual variation of the underlying radiosensitivity parameters was simulated by sampling the prescribed dose from a uniform distribution and the radiosensitivity-parameters from a Gaussian distribution. The result is visualized as a scatter-plot superimposed to the population-based dose response curves using the prescribed dose as the common dosimetric variable. In addition, probability histograms are derived quantifying the probability of specific TCP- or NTCP-values for individual patients from the underlying population. The method is exemplified with a pleural mesothelioma case with the lung as organ at risk. A prescribed dose of 54 Gy together with radiosensitivity variations of 6% (tumor) and 10% (normal tissue) results in a TCP of 85% (range 68-94%, 90% confidence interval, CI) and an NTCP of 4% (range 3-6%, 90% CI), respectively. Increasing the radiosensitivity variation of the tumor to 15% and reducing the lung tolerance dose by 25% results in values of 84% (range 51-97%, 90% CI).for TCP and 9% (range 6-12%, 90% CI) for NTCP. Increasing the dose to 60 Gy leads to TCP- and NTCP-values of 93% (range 69-100%, 90% CI) and 12% (range 8-17%, 90% CI), respectively. The new method visualizes the uncertainty of TCP- and NTCP-values and hence of the therapeutic window. This can help the clinician to assess the treatment plan for the individual patient. (C) 2012 Associazione Italiana di Fisica Medica.
Type of Publication:
Journal article published