Original paper| Volume 67, P132-140, November 2019

Inter-planner variation in treatment-plan quality of plans created with a knowledge-based treatment planning system

Published:November 06, 2019DOI:


      • Clarify the inter-planner variation of knowledge-based plan (KBP) quality.
      • Ninety VMAT plans were created using the RapidPlan by nine planners.
      • Single optimization with only priority modification was performed.
      • Large variation of plan quality was observed in beginner planners.
      • Inter-planner variation remains for complicated plans even though using KBP.



      This study aimed to clarify the inter-planner variation of plan quality in knowledge-based plans created by nine planners.


      Five hypofractionated prostate-only (HPO) volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) plans and five whole-pelvis (WP) VMAT plans were created by each planner using a knowledge-based planning (KBP) system. Nine planners were divided into three groups of three planners each: Senior, Junior, and Beginner. Single optimization with only priority modification for all objectives was performed to stay within the dose constraints. The coefficients of variation (CVs) for dosimetric parameters were evaluated, and a plan quality metric (PQM) was used to evaluate comprehensive plan quality.


      Lower CVs (<0.05) were observed at dosimetric parameters in the planning target volume for both HPO and WP plans, while the CVs in the rectum and bladder for WP plans (<0.91) were greater than those for HPO plans (<0.17). The PQM values of HPO plans for Cases1–5 (average ± standard deviation) were 41.2 ± 7.1, 40.9 ± 5.6, and 39.9 ± 4.6 in the Senior, Junior, and Beginner groups, respectively. For the WP plans, the PQM values were 51.9 ± 6.3, 47.5 ± 4.3, and 40.0 ± 6.6, respectively. The number of clinically acceptable HPO and WP plans were 13/15 and 11/15 in the Senior group, 13/15 and 10/15 plans in the Junior group, and 8/15 and 2/15 plans in the Beginner group, respectively.


      Inter-planner variation in the plan quality with RapidPlan remains, especially for the complicated VMAT plans, due to planners’ heuristics.


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