A novel energy sequence optimization algorithm for efficient spot-scanning proton arc (SPArc) treatment delivery

Gang Liu, Tongji Medical College
Xiaoqiang Li, William Beaumont Hospital
Lewei Zhao, William Beaumont Hospital
Weili Zheng, William Beaumont Hospital
An Qin, William Beaumont Hospital
Sheng Zhang, Tongji Medical College
Craig Stevens, William Beaumont Hospital
Di Yan, William Beaumont Hospital
Peyman Kabolizadeh, William Beaumont Hospital
Xuanfeng Ding, William Beaumont Hospital


© 2020 Acta Oncologica Foundation. Background: Spot-scanning proton arc therapy (SPArc) has been proposed to improve dosimetric outcome and to simplify treatment workflow. To efficiently deliver a SPArc plan, it’s crucial to minimize the number of energy layer switches (ELS) a sending because of the magnetic hysteresis effect. In this study, we introduced a new SPArc energy sequence optimization algorithm (SPArc_seq) to reduce ascended ELS and to investigate its impact on the beam delivery time (BDT). Method and materials: An iterative energy layer sorting and re-distribution mechanism following the direction of the gantry rotation was implemented in the original SPArc algorithm (SPArc_orig). Five disease sites, including prostate, lung, brain, head neck cancer (HNC) and breast cancer were selected to evaluate this new algorithm. Dose-volume histogram (DVH) and plan robustness were used to assess the plan quality for both SPArc_seq and SPArc_orig plans. The BDT evaluations were analyzed through two methods: 1. fixed gantry angle delivery (BDTfixed) and 2. An in-house dynamic arc scanning controller simulation which considered of gantry rotation speed, acceleration and deceleration (BDTarc). Results: With a similar total number of energy layers, SPArc_seq plans provided a similar nominal plan quality and plan robustness compared to SPArc_orig plans. SPArc_seq significantly reduced the number of ascended ELS by 83% (19 vs.115), 70% (16 vs. 64), 82% (19 vs. 104), 80% (19 vs. 94) and 70% (9 vs. 30), which effectively shortened the BDTfixed by 65% (386 vs. 1091 s), 61% (235 vs. 609 s), 64% (336 vs. 928 s), 48% (787 vs.1521 s) and 25% (384 vs. 511 s) and shortened BDTarc by 54% (522 vs.1128 s), 52% (310 vs.645 s), 53% (443 vs. 951 s), 49% (803 vs.1583 s) and 26% (398 vs. 534 s) in prostate, lung, brain, HNC and breast cancer, respectively. Conclusions: The SPArc_seq optimization algorithm could effectively reduce the BDT compared to the original SPArc algorithm. The improved efficiency of the SPArc_seq algorithm has the potential to increase patient throughput, thereby reducing the operation cost of proton therapy.