PURPOSE: Without a clear definition of an optimal treatment plan, no optimization model can be perfect. Therefore, instead of automatically finding a single “optimal” plan, finding multiple, yet different near-optimal plans, can be an insightful approach to support radiation oncologists in finding the plan they are looking for. METHODS AND MATERIALS: BRIGHT is a flexible AI-based optimization method for brachytherapy treatment planning that has already been shown capable of finding high-quality plans that trade-off target volume coverage and healthy tissue sparing. We leverage the flexibility of BRIGHT to find plans with similar dose-volume criteria, yet different dose distributions. We further describe extensions that facilitate fast plan adaptation should planning aims need to be adjusted, and straightforwardly allow incorporating hospital-specific aims besides standard protocols. RESULTS: Results are obtained for prostate (n = 12) and cervix brachytherapy (n = 36). We demonstrate the possible differences in dose distribution for optimized plans with equal dose-volume criteria. We furthermore demonstrate that adding hospital-specific aims enables adhering to hospital-specific practice while still being able to automatically create cervix plans that more often satisfy the EMBRACE-II protocol than clinical practice. Finally, we illustrate the feasibility of fast plan adaptation. CONCLUSIONS: Methods such as BRIGHT enable new ways to construct high-quality treatment plans for brachytherapy while offering new insights by making explicit the options one has. In particular, it becomes possible to present to radiation oncologists a manageable set of alternative plans that, from an optimization perspective are equally good, yet differ in terms of coverage-sparing trade-offs and shape of the dose distribution.

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Dickhoff, L., Scholman, R., Barten, D., Kerkhof, E., Roorda, J., Velema, L., … Alderliesten, T. (2024). Keeping your best options open with AI-based treatment planning in prostate and cervix brachytherapy. Brachytherapy. doi:10.1016/j.brachy.2023.10.005