Analysis of Geometric Performance and Dosimetric Impact of Using Automatic Contour Segmentation for Radiotherapy Planning
Frontiers in Oncology
Purpose: To analyze geometric discrepancy and dosimetric impact in using contours generated by auto-segmentation (AS) against manually segmented (MS) clinical contours. Methods: A 48-subject prostate atlas was created and another 15 patients were used for testing. Contours were generated using a commercial atlas-based segmentation tool and compared to their clinical MS counterparts. The geometric correlation was evaluated using the Dice similarity coefficient (DSC) and Hausdorff distance (HD).
... osimetric relevance was evaluated for a subset of patients by assessing the DVH differences derived by optimizing plan dose using the AS and MS contours, respectively, and evaluating with respect to each. A paired t-test was employed for statistical comparison. The discrepancy in plan quality with respect to clinical dosimetric endpoints was evaluated. The analysis was repeated for head/neck (HN) with a 31-subject atlas and 15 test cases. Results: Dice agreement between AS and MS differed significantly across structures: from (L:0.92/R: 0.91) for the femoral heads to seminal vesical of 0.38 in the prostate cohort, and from 0.98 for the brain, to 0.36 for the chiasm of the HN group. Despite the geometric disagreement, the paired t-tests showed the lack of statistical evidence for systematic differences in dosimetric plan quality yielded by the AS and MS approach for the prostate cohort. In HN cases, statistically significant differences in dosimetric endpoints were observed in structures with small volumes or elongated shapes such as cord (p = 0.01) and esophagus (p = 0.04). The largest absolute dose difference of 11 Gy was seen in the mean pharynx dose. Conclusion: Varying AS performance among structures suggests a differential approach of using AS on a subset of structures and focus MS on the rest. The discrepancy between geometric and dosimetric-end-point driven evaluation also indicates the clinical utility of AS contours in optimization and evaluating plan quality despite of suboptimal geometrical accuracy.