Optimization of radiation treatment planning requires estimations of the normal tissue complication probability (NTCP). A number of models exist that estimate NTCP from a calculated dose distribution. Since different dose calculation algorithms use different approximations the dose distributions predicted for a given treatment will in general depend on the algorithm. The purpose of this work is to test whether the optimal NTCP parameter values change significantly when the dose calculation algorithm is changed. The treatment plans for 17 breast cancer patients have retrospectively been recalculated with a collapsed cone algorithm (CC) to compare the NTCP estimates for radiation pneumonitis with those obtained from the clinically used pencil beam algorithm (PB). For the PB calculations the NTCP parameters were taken from previously published values for three different models. For the CC calculations the parameters were fitted to give the same NTCP as for the PB calculations. This paper demonstrates that significant shifts of the NTCP parameter values are observed for three models, comparable in magnitude to the uncertainties of the published parameter values. Thus, it is important to quote the applied dose calculation algorithm when reporting estimates of NTCP parameters in order to ensure correct use of the models.
Medical Physics, 2007, Vol 34, Issue 9, p. 3579-3586