Research Article| Volume 48, ISSUE 1, P20-24, March 2023

Clinical target volume segmentation based on gross tumor volume using deep learning for head and neck cancer treatment

Published:October 21, 2022DOI:


      Accurate clinical target volume (CTV) delineation is important for head and neck intensity-modulated radiation therapy. However, delineation is time-consuming and susceptible to interobserver variability (IOV). Based on a manual contouring process commonly used in clinical practice, we developed a deep learning (DL)-based method to delineate a low-risk CTV with computed tomography (CT) and gross tumor volume (GTV) input and compared it with a CT-only input. A total of 310 patients with oropharynx cancer were randomly divided into the training set (250) and test set (60). The low-risk CTV and primary GTV contours were used to generate label data for the input and ground truth. A 3D U-Net with a two-channel input of CT and GTV (U-NetGTV) was proposed and its performance was compared with a U-Net with only CT input (U-NetCT). The Dice similarity coefficient (DSC) and average Hausdorff distance (AHD) were evaluated. The time required to predict the CTV was 0.86 s per patient. U-NetGTV showed a significantly higher mean DSC value than U-NetCT (0.80 ± 0.03 and 0.76 ± 0.05) and a significantly lower mean AHD value (3.0 ± 0.5 mm vs 3.5 ± 0.7 mm). Compared to the existing DL method with only CT input, the proposed GTV-based segmentation using DL showed a more precise low-risk CTV segmentation for head and neck cancer. Our findings suggest that the proposed method could reduce the contouring time of a low-risk CTV, allowing the standardization of target delineations for head and neck cancer.


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