Creating Your Plan


This article discusses the process of creating your plan. In addition, it answers several frequently asked questions about plan creation. For a step-by-step guide on how to participate in a plan study, please read our Participating in a Plan Study article.


  1. Understanding Study Goals and Objectives

    Each plan study will often have specific and unique goals. These specific goals will be spelled out in the Instructions tab for that plan study in a downloadable PDF document. It is important to read these instructions thoroughly before you create your plan in order to fully understand the goals of the study and the study’s scoring metrics.

  2. Downloading the Dataset

    When you are ready to begin planning, download the dataset on the Download tab. The downloaded file is a ZIP archive, which must be extracted before you can import the files into your treatment planning system. For more information about zip files, see How do I use zipped files?.

  3. Import the Files

    Import the files into your treatment planning system. For TPS-specific help, please see our TPS Support Library.

  4. Create Your Plan

    Create a plan according to the plan study instructions.

Other Plan Study Requirements

We do have several minimum requirements for the plan and dose you will create and upload beyond what is specified in the plan study instructions.
  1. We require that dose grid resolution be 3 mm or less spacing in all dimensions (i.e., 4 mm grids are too coarse to give accurate DVH curves). In some cases (e.g., very small target or OAR volumes), we might require even higher resolution, but we will put that into the plan-specific instructions.
  2. The size of the dose grid extents, which is the bounding box inside of which you will calculate dose, must cover all of the critical anatomy. However, it need not cover all of the CT images, and truncating down to critical anatomy might cut down on the size of the RT Dose file and speed up the uploading and calculation of your score.
  3. Unless otherwise stated, all ProKnow plan studies require that heterogeneity corrections are used along with modern, high-quality dose calculation algorithms.
  4. Use your judgment and do not create any impractical treatment plan designs. VMAT plans should typically use three arcs or fewer (unless it's a hypo-fractionated plan and the TPS has MU limits per beam), IMRT should use 9 unique beam geometries or fewer, and Tomotherapy plans should not exceed a conventional delivery time for the stated dose/fraction (i.e. no unrealistic pitch settings). Cyberknife delivery will take longer so if you are a CyberKnife user, do not exceed normal tolerances. These beam number limits are only guidelines, and practical limits can vary from study to study. You should rely on your own clinical practice to determine what is a reasonable plan.
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