University of Florida, USA
We consider the problem of determining high-quality radiation therapy treatment plans for cancer patients. Since radiation therapy kills both cancerous and normal cells, the treatment must be carefully planned so that a clinically prescribed dose is delivered to cancerous cells while sparing normal cells in nearby organs and tissues to the greatest extent possible. We formulate an integrated model for intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) treatment plan optimization that incorporates several treatment delivery aspects that have to date mainly been handled in a post-processing phase. We develop a column generation algorithm for solving this problem and study four variants of the associated pricing problem. We present results on clinical cases that indicate that this approach can be used to not only find high-quality treatment plans that can be delivered more efficiently than current plans, but also to help make a trade-off between treatment plan efficiency and quality.