Deep Learning for Automated Contouring of Primary Tumor Volumes by MRI for Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma.
Radiology. 2019 Jun;291(3):677-686. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2019182012. Epub 2019 Mar 26.
Lin L1, Dou Q1, Jin YM1, Zhou GQ1, Tang YQ1, Chen WL1, Su BA1, Liu F1, Tao CJ1, Jiang N1, Li JY1, Tang LL1, Xie CM1, Huang SM1, Ma J1, Heng PA1, Wee JTS1, Chua MLK1, Chen H1, Sun Y1.
Background Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) may be cured with radiation therapy. Tumor proximity to critical structures demands accuracy in tumor delineation to avoid toxicities from radiation therapy; however, tumor target contouring for head and neck radiation therapy is labor intensive and highly variable among radiation oncologists. Purpose To construct and validate an artificial intelligence (AI) contouring tool to automate primary gross tumor volume (GTV) contouring in patients with NPC. Materials and Methods In this retrospective study, MRI data sets covering the nasopharynx from 1021 patients (median age, 47 years; 751 male, 270 female) with NPC between September 2016 and September 2017 were collected and divided into training, validation, and testing cohorts of 715, 103, and 203 patients, respectively. GTV contours were delineated for 1021 patients and were defined by consensus of two experts. A three-dimensional convolutional neural network was applied to 818 training and validation MRI data sets to construct the AI tool, which was tested in 203 independent MRI data sets. Next, the AI tool was compared against eight qualified radiation oncologists in a multicenter evaluation by using a random sample of 20 test MRI examinations. The Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed rank test was used to compare the difference of Dice similarity coefficient (DSC) of pre- versus post-AI assistance. Results The AI-generated contours demonstrated a high level of accuracy when compared with ground truth contours at testing in 203 patients (DSC, 0.79; 2.0-mm difference in average surface distance). In multicenter evaluation, AI assistance improved contouring accuracy (five of eight oncologists had a higher median DSC after AI assistance; average median DSC, 0.74 vs 0.78; P < .001), reduced intra- and interobserver variation (by 36.4% and 54.5%, respectively), and reduced contouring time (by 39.4%). Conclusion The AI contouring tool improved primary gross tumor contouring accuracy of nasopharyngeal carcinoma, which could have a positive impact on tumor control and patient survival.
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