Double reading for gross tumor volume assessment in radiotherapy planning

Ryuji Murakami, Toshinori Hirai, Ryo Toya, Hideo Nakamura, Yasuyuki Yamashita


Background/Objective: The precise definition of the gross tumor volume (GTV) that takes into account intra- and interobserver variability is necessary for high-precision radiotherapy (RT) techniques. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the practical GTV assessment by a “double reading” approach.

Methods: Pretreatment magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, including the post-contrast 3D magnetization-prepared rapid-gradient echo (MP-RAGE) sequence (section thickness 1.0 mm) was performed on a 3T superconducting imager in 50 patients with glioblastoma. MR images were transferred to a RT planning system (RTPS) that provides many opportunities for GTV contouring, e.g., at diagnosis, surgical navigation, and RT deliberations. Independent 2 observers preliminarily contoured the GTV on MR images. After planning-CT scanning, CT images with a 1.0 mm slice interval were transferred to the RTPS, registered with the diagnostic images, and then the preliminarily-contoured strictures were copied onto the CT images and used for GTV assessment. The practical GTV on the planning CT was determined by integrating the interpretations and adding information on postoperative changes. The interobserver variability in GTV contouring was assessed by Bland-Altman analysis and the concordance index.

Results: There was substantial interobserver variability in GTV contouring (95% limits of agreement: -29.4%, 16.8%). The mean interobserver concordance rate for the GTV was 82.1% (range 56.5-91.2%). The practical GTVs were significantly larger than the preliminarily-contoured GTVs by both observers (p < 0.01).

Conclusions: Considering interobserver variability, “double reading” is necessary for practical GTV assessment. This approach for volume assessment may facilitate the standardization of treatments, not only of RT but also of surgery and chemotherapy.

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Journal of Solid Tumors

ISSN 1925-4067(Print)   ISSN 1925-4075(Online)

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