Purpose: There has been increasing use of external beam radiotherapy for localized treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with both palliative and curative intent. Quality control of target delineation in primary HCC is essential to deliver adequate doses of radiation to the primary tumor while preserving adjacent healthy organs. We analyzed interobserver variability in gross tumor volume (GTV) delineation for HCC. Patients and methods: Twelve radiation oncologists specializing in liver malignancy participated in a multi-institutional contouring dummy-run study of nine HCC cases and independently delineated GTV on the same set of provided computed tomography images. Quantitative analysis was performed using an expectation maximization algorithm for simultaneous truth and performance level estimation (STAPLE) with kappa statistics calculating agreement between physicians. To quantify the interobserver variability of GTV delineations, the ratio of the actual delineated volume to the estimated consensus volume (STAPLE), the ratio of the common and encompassing volumes, and the coefficient of variation were calculated. Results: The median kappa agreement level was 0.71 (range 0.28–0.86). The ratio of the actual delineated volume to the estimated consensus volume ranged from 0.19 to 1.93 (median 0.94) for all cases. The ratio of the common and encompassing volumes ranged from 0.001 to 0.56 (median 0.25). The coefficient of variation for GTV delineation ranged from 8 to 57 % (median 26 %). Conclusion: The interobserver variability in target delineation of HCC GTV in this study is noteworthy. Multi-institution studies involving radiotherapy for HCC require appropriate quality assurance programs for target delineation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by a grant (0620390) from the National R&D Program for Cancer Control, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea.
© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging