A novel semi auto-segmentation method for accurate dose and NTCP evaluation in adaptive head and neck radiotherapy

Yong Gan*, Johannes A Langendijk, Edwin Oldehinkel, Daniel Scandurra, Nanna M Sijtsema, Zhixiong Lin, Stefan Both, Charlotte L Brouwer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
52 Downloads (Pure)


Background and purpose: Accurate segmentation of organs-at-risk (OARs) is crucial but tedious and time-consuming in adaptive radiotherapy (ART). The purpose of this work was to automate head and neck OAR-segmentation on repeat CT (rCT) by an optimal combination of human and auto-segmentation for accurate prediction of Normal Tissue Complication Probability (NTCP).

Materials and methods: Human segmentation (HS) of 3 observers, deformable image registration (DIR) based contour propagation and deep learning contouring (DLC) were carried out to segment 15 OARs on 15 rCTs. The original treatment plan was re-calculated on rCT to obtain mean dose (D-mean) and con-sequent NTCP-predictions. The average Dmean and NTCP-predictions of the three observers were referred to as the gold standard to calculate the absolute difference of D-mean and NTCP-predictions (vertical bar AD(mean)vertical bar and vertical bar ANTCP vertical bar).

Results: The average vertical bar AD(mean)vertical bar of parotid glands in HS was 1.40 Gy, lower than that obtained with DIR and DLC (3.64 Gy, p < 0.001 and 3.72 Gy, p < 0.001, respectively). DLC showed the highest vertical bar AD(mean)vertical bar in middle Pharyngeal Constrictor Muscle (PCM) (5.13 Gy, p = 0.01). DIR showed second highest vertical bar AD(mean)vertical bar in the cricopharyngeal inlet (2.85 Gy, p = 0.01). The semi auto-segmentation (SAS) adopted HS, DIR and DLC for segmentation of parotid glands, PCM and all other OARs, respectively. The 90th percentile vertical bar ANTCP vertical bar was 2.19%, 2.24%, 1.10% and 1.50% for DIR, DLC, HS and SAS respectively.

Conclusions: Human segmentation of the parotid glands remains necessary for accurate interpretation of mean dose and NTCP during ART. Proposed semi auto-segmentation allows NTCP-predictions within 1.5% accuracy for 90% of the cases. (C) 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-174
Number of pages8
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Early online date28-Sept-2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2021


  • Head and neck cancer
  • Organs at risk
  • Auto-segmentation
  • Deep learning contouring
  • Deformable image registration
  • Dosimetric changes
  • RISK

Cite this