Picture of Vimal Desai

Vimal Desai

Radiation Oncology Physics Resident

Department of Human Oncology

2021 Physics Residency Alumnus


PhD, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Medical Physics (2019)

MS, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Medical Physics (2015)

BS, University of Virginia, Mechanical Engineering (2013)

BA, University of Virginia, Physics (2013)

Selected Honors and Awards

North Central Chapter of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine Young Investigators Competition, 2nd place (2017)

North Central Chapter of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine Young Investigators Competition, 3rd place (2016)

  • Multi-institution single geometry plan complexity characteristics based on IROC phantoms Medical physics
    Desai V, Labby Z, Culberson W, DeWerd L, Kry S
    2024 Apr 26. doi: 10.1002/mp.17086. Online ahead of print.
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      BACKGROUND: Clinical intensity modulated radiation therapy plans have been described using various complexity metrics to help identify problematic radiotherapy plans. Most previous studies related to the quantification of plan complexity and their utility have relied on institution-specific plans which can be highly variable depending on the machines, planning techniques, delivery modalities, and measurement devices used. In this work, 1723 plans treating one of only four standardized geometries were simultaneously analyzed to investigate how radiation plan complexity metrics vary across four different sets of common objectives.

      PURPOSE: To assess the treatment plan complexity characteristics of plans developed for Imaging and Radiation Oncology Core (IROC) phantoms. Specifically, to understand the variability in plan complexity between institutions for a common plan objective, and to evaluate how various complexity metrics differentiate relevant groups of plans.

      METHODS: 1723 plans treating one of four standardized IROC phantom geometries representing four different anatomical sites of treatment were analyzed. For each plan, 22 MLC-descriptive plan complexity metrics were calculated, and principal component analysis (PCA) was applied to the 22 metrics in order to evaluate differences in plan complexity between groups. Across all metrics, pairwise comparisons of the IROC phantom data were made for the following classifications of the data: anatomical phantom treated, treatment planning system (TPS), and the combination of MLC model and treatment planning system. An objective k-means clustering algorithm was also applied to the data to determine if any meaningful distinctions could be made between different subgroups. The IROC phantom database was also compared to a clinical database from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) which included plans treating the same four anatomical sites as the IROC phantoms using a TrueBeam™ STx and Pinnacle3 TPS.

      RESULTS: The IROC head and neck and spine plans were distinct from the prostate and lung plans based on comparison of the 22 metrics. All IROC phantom plan group complexity metric distributions were highly variable despite all plans being designed for identical geometries and plan objectives. The clusters determined by the k-means algorithm further supported that the IROC head and neck and spine plans involved similar amounts of complexity and were largely distinct from the prostate and lung plans, but no further distinctions could be made. Plan complexity in the head and neck and spine IROC phantom plans were similar to the complexity encountered in the UW clinical plans.

      CONCLUSIONS: There is substantial variability in plan complexity between institutions when planning for the same objective. For each IROC anatomical phantom treated, the magnitude of variability in plan complexity between institutions is similar to the variability in plan complexity encountered within a single institution database containing several hundred unique clinical plans treating corresponding anatomies in actual patients.

      PMID:38669453 | DOI:10.1002/mp.17086

      View details for PubMedID 38669453
  • Targeting the GTV in medically inoperable endometrial cancer using brachytherapy Brachytherapy
    Merfeld EC, Kuczmarska-Haas A, Burr AR, Witt JS, Francis DM, Ntambi J, Desai VK, Huang JY, Miller JR, Lawless MJ, Wallace CR, Anderson BM, Bradley KA
    2022 Nov-Dec;21(6):792-798. doi: 10.1016/j.brachy.2022.07.006. Epub 2022 Aug 24.
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      PURPOSE: We aimed to determine the relationship between gross tumor volume (GTV) dose and tumor control in women with medically inoperable endometrial cancer, and to demonstrate the feasibility of targeting a GTV-focused volume using imaged-guided brachytherapy.

      METHODS AND MATERIALS: An endometrial cancer database was used to identify patients. Treatment plans were reviewed to determine doses to GTV, clinical target volume (CTV), and OARs. Uterine recurrence-free survival was evaluated as a function of CTV and GTV doses. Brachytherapy was replanned with a goal of GTV D98 EQD2 ≥ 80 Gy, without regard for coverage of the uninvolved uterus and while respecting OAR dose constraints.

      RESULTS: Fifty-four patients were identified. In the delivered plans, GTV D90 EQD2 ≥ 80 Gy was achieved in 36 (81.8%) patients. Uterine recurrence-free survival was 100% in patients with GTV D90 EQD2 ≥ 80 Gy and 66.7% in patients with EQD2 < 80 Gy (p = 0.001). On GTV-only replans, GTV D98 EQD2 ≥ 80 Gy was achieved in 39 (88.6%) patients. Mean D2cc was lower for bladder (47.1 Gy vs. 73.0 Gy, p < 0.001), and sigmoid (47.0 Gy vs. 58.0 Gy, p = 0.007) on GTV-only replans compared to delivered plans. Bladder D2cc was ≥ 80 Gy in 11 (25.0%) delivered plans and four (9.1%) GTV-only replans (p = 0.043). Sigmoid D2cc was ≥ 65 Gy in 20 (45.4%) delivered plans and 10 (22.7%) GTV-only replans (p = 0.021).

      CONCLUSIONS: OAR dose constraints should be prioritized over CTV coverage if GTV coverage is sufficient. Prospective evaluation of image-guided brachytherapy to a reduced, GTV-focused volume is warranted.

      PMID:36030167 | DOI:10.1016/j.brachy.2022.07.006

      View details for PubMedID 36030167
  • A clinical validation of the MR-compatible Delta<sup>4</sup> QA system in a 0.35 tesla MR linear accelerator Journal of applied clinical medical physics
    Desai V, Bayouth J, Smilowitz J, Yadav P
    2021 Apr;22(4):82-91. doi: 10.1002/acm2.13216. Epub 2021 Mar 5.
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      PURPOSE: To validate an MR-compatible version of the ScandiDos Delta4 Phantom+ on a 0.35T MR guided linear accelerator (MR-Linac) system and to determine the effect of plan complexity on the measurement results.

      METHODS/MATERIALS: 36 clinical treatment plans originally delivered on a 0.35T MR linac system were re-planned on the Delta4 Phantom+ MR geometry following our clinical quality assurance (QA) protocol. The QA plans were then measured using the Delta4 Phantom+ MR and the global gamma pass rates were compared to previous results measured using a Sun Nuclear ArcCHECK-MR. Both 3%/3mm and 2%/2mm global gamma pass rates with a 20% dose threshold were recorded and compared. Plan complexity was quantified for each clinical plan investigated using 24 different plan metrics and each metric's correlation with the overall 2%/2mm global gamma pass rate was investigated using Pearson correlation coefficients.

      RESULTS: Both systems demonstrated comparable levels of gamma pass rates at both the 3%/3mm and 2%/2mm level for all plan complexity metrics. Nine plan metrics including area, number of active MLCs, perimeter, edge metric, leaf segment variability, complete irradiation area outline, irregularity, leaf travel index, and unique opening index were moderately (|r| > 0.5) correlated with the Delta4 2%/2mm global gamma pass rates whereas those same metrics had weak correlation with the ArcCHECK-MR pass rates. Only the perimeter to area ratio and small aperture score (20 mm) metrics showed moderate correlation with the ArcCHECK-MR gamma pass rates.

      CONCLUSIONS: The MR-compatible version of the ScandiDos Delta4 Phantom+ MR has been validated for clinical use on a 0.35T MR-Linac with results being comparable to an ArcCHECK-MR system in use clinically for almost five years. Most plan complexity metrics did not correlate with lower 2%/2mm gamma pass rates using the ArcCHECK-MR but several metrics were found to be moderately correlated with lower 2%/2mm global gamma pass rates for the Delta4 Phantom+ MR.

      PMID:33666360 | PMC:PMC8035559 | DOI:10.1002/acm2.13216

      View details for PubMedID 33666360
  • On the implementation of the plan-class specific reference field using multidimensional clustering of plan features and alternative strategies for improved dosimetry in modulated clinical linear accelerator treatments Medical physics
    Desai VK, Labby ZE, DeWerd LA, Culberson WS
    2020 Aug;47(8):3621-3635. doi: 10.1002/mp.14207. Epub 2020 May 18.
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      PURPOSE: The plan-class specific reference field concept could theoretically improve the calibration of radiation detectors in a beam environment much closer to clinical deliveries than existing broad beam dosimetry protocols. Due to a lack of quantitative guidelines and representative data, however, the pcsr field concept has not yet been widely implemented. This work utilizes quantitative plan complexity metrics from modulated clinical treatments in order to investigate the establishment of potential plan classes using two different clustering methodologies. The utility of these potential plan clusters is then further explored by analyzing their relevance to actual dosimetric correction factors.

      METHODS: Two clinical databases containing several hundred modulated plans originally delivered on two Varian linear accelerators were analyzed using 21 plan complexity metrics. In the first approach, each database's plans were further subdivided into groups based on the anatomic site of treatment and then compared to one another using a series of nonparametric statistical tests. In the second approach, objective clustering algorithms were used to seek potential plan clusters in the multidimensional complexity-metric space. Concurrently, beam- and detector-specific dosimetric corrections for a subset of the modulated clinical plans were determined using Monte Carlo for three different ionization chambers. The distributions of the dosimetric correction factors were compared to the derived plan clusters to see which plan clusters, if any, could help predict the correction factor magnitudes. Ultimately, a simplified volume averaging metric (SVAM) is shown to be much more relevant to the total dosimetric correction factor than the established plan clusters.

      RESULTS: Plan groups based on the site of treatment did not show noticeable distinction from one another in the context of the metrics investigated. An objective clustering algorithm was able to discriminate volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) plans from step-and-shoot intensity-modulated radiation therapy plans with an accuracy of 90.8%, but no clusters were found to exist at any level more specific than delivery modality. Monte Carlo determined correction factors for the modulated plans ranged from 0.970 to 1.104, 0.983 to 1.027, and 0.986 to 1.009 for the A12, A1SL, and A26 chambers, respectively, and were highly variable even within the treatment modality plan clusters. The magnitudes of these correction factors were explained almost entirely by volume averaging with SVAM demonstrating positive correlation with all Monte Carlo established total correction factors.

      CONCLUSIONS: Plan complexity metrics do provide some quantitative basis for the investigation of plan clusters, but an objective clustering algorithm demonstrated that quantifiable differences could only be found between VMAT and step-and-shoot beams delivered on the same treatment machine. The inherent variability of the Monte Carlo determined correction factors could not be explained solely by the modality of the treatment but were instead almost entirely dependent upon the volume averaging correction, which itself depends on the detector position within the dose distribution, dose gradients, and other factors. Considering the continued difficulty of determining a relevant plan metric to base plan clusters on, case-by-case corrections may instead obviate the need for the pcsr field concept in the future.

      PMID:32337734 | DOI:10.1002/mp.14207

      View details for PubMedID 32337734
  • VMAT and IMRT plan-specific correction factors for linac-based ionization chamber dosimetry Medical physics
    Desai VK, Labby ZE, Hyun MA, DeWerd LA, Culberson WS
    2019 Feb;46(2):913-924. doi: 10.1002/mp.13293. Epub 2018 Dec 6.
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      PURPOSE: The determination of absorbed dose to water from external beam radiotherapy using radiation detectors is currently rooted in calibration protocols that do not account for modulations encountered in patient-specific deliveries. Detector response in composite clinical fields has not been extensively studied due to the time and effort required to determine these corrections on a case-by-case basis. To help bridge this gap in knowledge, corrections for the Exradin A1SL scanning chamber were determined in a large number of composite clinical fields using Monte Carlo methods. The chamber-specific perturbations that contribute the most to the overall correction factor were also determined.

      METHODS: A total of 131 patient deliveries comprised of 834 beams from a Varian C-arm linear accelerator were converted to EGSnrc Monte Carlo inputs. A validated BEAMnrc 21EX linear accelerator model was used as a particle source throughout the EGSnrc simulations. Composite field dose distributions were compared against a commercial treatment planning system for validation. The simulation geometry consisted of a cylindrically symmetric water-equivalent phantom with the Exradin A1SL scanning chamber embedded inside. Various chamber perturbation factors were investigated in the egs_chamber user code of EGSnrc and were compared to reference field conditions to determine the plan-specific correction factor.

      RESULTS: The simulation results indicated that the Exradin A1SL scanning chamber is suitable to use as an absolute dosimeter within a high-dose and low-gradient target region in most nonstandard composite fields; however, there are still individual cases that require larger delivery-specific corrections. The volume averaging and replacement perturbations showed the largest impact on the overall plan-specific correction factor for the Exradin A1SL scanning chamber, and both volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) and step-and-shoot beams demonstrated similar correction factor magnitudes among the data investigated. Total correction magnitudes greater than 2% were required by 9.1% of step-and-shoot beams and 14.5% of VMAT beams. When examining full composite plan deliveries as opposed to individual beams, 0.0% of composite step-and-shoot plans and 2.6% of composite VMAT plans required correction magnitudes greater than 2%.

      CONCLUSIONS: The A1SL scanning chamber was found to be suitable to use for absolute dosimetry in high-dose and low-gradient dose regions of composite IMRT plans but even if a composite dose distribution is large compared to the detector used, a correction-free absorbed dose-to-water measurement is not guaranteed.

      PMID:30449040 | DOI:10.1002/mp.13293

      View details for PubMedID 30449040

Contact Information

Vimal Desai, PhD

600 Highland Avenue, K4/B100,
Madison, WI 53792