Dose planning variations related to delineation variations in MRI-guided brachytherapy for locally advanced cervical cancer

Forfattere Lauren Bell, Lois Holloway, Kjersti Bruheim, Primož Petrič, Christian Kirisits, Kari Tanderup, Richard Pötter, Shalini Vinod, Karen Lim, Elise Pogson, Peter Metcalfe, Taran Paulsen Hellebust
Kilde Brachytherapy. Mar-Apr 2020;19(2):146-153 Publiceringsdato 14 feb 2020


To examine the variability in prescribed dose due to contouring variations in intracavitary image-guided adaptive brachytherapy for cervical cancer. To identify correlations between dosimetric outcomes and delineation uncertainty metrics.

Methods and materials

A data set from an EMBRACE sub-study on contouring uncertainties was used, consisting of magnetic resonance images of six patients with cervical cancer delineated by 10 experienced observers (target volumes and organs at risk). Two gold standard contours were generated, an expert consensus and the simultaneous truth and performance level estimation. Plans were individually optimised to all of the contour sets (12 in total). Plans were applied to the gold standard contour sets, and dose volume histogram parameters including D90, D98 and D2cm3 were determined. The variability between plans was assessed. Dose volume histogram parameters and delineation uncertainty metrics were correlated using the Spearman's non-parametric rank correlation.


There is a dosimetric variability between observers, patients and the gold standard contour used for analysis. Approximately 3 Gy D90 EQD210 variability (SD) was observed for the CTVHR and 1.2-3.6 Gy D2cm3 EQD23 for the organs at risk. The maximum geometric dimensions of the delineations are most commonly correlated with dosimetry changes. Although the correlations are similar across gold standards, the direction of these correlations differs, indicating that the dosimetric outcomes are dependent on the contour that the plan is optimised to.


This study highlights the dosimetric differences interobserver uncertainty in contouring can have for cervical cancer brachytherapy. The importance of carefully choosing a gold standard from which to benchmark is reiterated.