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1.  Comparison of imaging-based gross tumor volume and pathological volume determined by whole-mount serial sections in primary cervical cancer 
OncoTargets and therapy  2013;6:917-923.
To investigate the accuracy of imaging-based gross tumor volume (GTV) compared with pathological volume in cervical cancer.
Ten patients with International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stage I–II cervical cancer were eligible for investigation and underwent surgery in this study. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (18F-FDG PET)/computed tomography (CT) scans were taken the day before surgery. The GTVs under MRI and 18F-FDG PET/CT (GTV-MRI, GTV-PET, GTV-CT) were calculated automatically by Eclipse treatment-planning systems. Specimens of excised uterine cervix and cervical cancer were consecutively sliced and divided into whole-mount serial sections. The tumor border of hematoxylin and eosin-stained sections was outlined under a microscope by an experienced pathologist. GTV through pathological image (GTV-path) was calculated with Adobe Photoshop.
The GTVs (average ± standard deviation) delineated and calculated under CT, MRI, PET, and histopathological sections were 19.41 ± 11.96 cm3, 12.66 ± 10.53 cm3, 11.07 ± 9.44 cm3, and 10.79 ± 8.71 cm3, respectively. The volume of GTV-CT or GTV-MR was bigger than GTV-path, and the difference was statistically significant (P < 0.05). No significant difference was observed between GTV-PET and GTV-path (P > 0.05). Spearman correlation analysis showed that GTV-CT, GTV-MRI, and GTV-PET were significantly correlated with GTV-path (P < 0.01). There was no significant difference in the lesion coverage factor among the three modalities.
The present study showed that GTV defined under 40% of maximum standardized uptake value in PET images was very similar to the pathological volume of cervical cancer. This result should be replicated in a larger number of patients with cervical cancer in a future study of ours.
PMCID: PMC3722137  PMID: 23888117
MRI; 18F-FDG PET/CT; pathological tumor volume; gross tumor volume; cervical cancer
2.  18F-FDG PET/CT-based gross tumor volume definition for radiotherapy in head and neck Cancer: a correlation study between suitable uptake value threshold and tumor parameters 
To define a suitable threshold setting for gross tumor volume (GTV) when using 18Fluoro-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography and computed tomogram (PET/CT) for radiotherapy planning in head and neck cancer (HNC).
Fifteen HNC patients prospectively received PET/CT simulation for their radiation treatment planning. Biological target volume (BTV) was derived from PET/CT-based GTV of the primary tumor. The BTVs were defined as the isodensity volumes when adjusting different percentage of the maximal standardized uptake value (SUVmax), excluding any artifact from surrounding normal tissues. CT-based primary GTV (C-pGTV) that had been previously defined by radiation oncologists was compared with the BTV. Suitable threshold level (sTL) could be determined when BTV value and its morphology using a certain threshold level was observed to be the best fitness of the C-pGTV. Suitable standardized uptake value (sSUV) was calculated as the sTL multiplied by the SUVmax.
Our result demonstrated no single sTL or sSUV method could achieve an optimized volumetric match with the C-pGTV. The sTL was 13% to 27% (mean, 19%), whereas the sSUV was 1.64 to 3.98 (mean, 2.46). The sTL was inversely correlated with the SUVmax [sTL = -0.1004 Ln (SUVmax) + 0.4464; R2 = 0.81]. The sSUV showed a linear correlation with the SUVmax (sSUV = 0.0842 SUVmax + 1.248; R2 = 0.89). The sTL was not associated with the value of C-pGTVs.
In PET/CT-based BTV for HNC, a suitable threshold or SUV level can be established by correlating with SUVmax rather than using a fixed threshold.
PMCID: PMC2942892  PMID: 20813064
3.  FDG-PET/CT imaging for tumor staging and definition of tumor volumes in radiation treatment planning in non-small cell lung cancer 
Oncology Letters  2014;7(4):1015-1020.
18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) has the potential to improve the staging and radiation treatment (RT) planning of various tumor sites. However, from a clinical standpoint, questions remain with regard to what extent PET/CT changes the target volume and whether PET/CT reduces interobserver variability in target volume delineation. The present study analyzed the use of FDG-PET/CT images for staging and evaluated the impact of FDG-PET/CT on the radiotherapy volume delineation compared with CT in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who were candidates for radiotherapy. Intraobserver variation in delineating tumor volumes was also observed. In total, 23 patients with stage I-III NSCLC were enrolled and treated with fractionated RT-based therapy with or without chemotherapy. FDG-PET/CT scans were acquired within two weeks prior to RT. PET and CT data sets were sent to the treatment planning system, Pinnacle, through compact discs. The CT and PET images were subsequently fused by means of a dedicated RT planning system. Gross tumor volume (GTV) was contoured by four radiation oncologists on CT (GTV-CT) and PET/CT images (GTV-PET/CT). The resulting volumes were analyzed and compared. For the first phase, two radiation oncologists outlined the contours together, achieving a final consensus. Based on PET/CT, changes in tumor-node-metastasis categories occurred in 8/23 cases (35%). Radiation targeting with fused FDG-PET and CT images resulted in alterations in radiation therapy planning in 12/20 patients (60%) in comparison with CT targeting. The most prominent changes in GTV were observed in cases with atelectasis. For the second phase, the variation in delineating tumor volumes was assessed by four observers. The mean ratio of largest to smallest CT-based GTV was 2.31 (range, 1.01–5.96). The addition of the PET results reduced the mean ratio to 1.46 (range, 1.02–2.27). PET/CT fusion images may have a potential impact on tumor staging and treatment planning. Implementing matched PET/CT results reduced observer variation in delineating tumor volumes significantly with respect to CT only.
PMCID: PMC3961455  PMID: 24944661
positron emission tomography/computed tomography; non-small cell lung cancer; radiotherapy; tumor volume
4.  Interobserver and intermodality variability in GTV delineation on simulation CT, FDG-PET, and MR Images of Head and Neck Cancer 
To compare the interobserver and intermodality differences in image-based identification of head and neck primary site gross tumor volumes (GTV). Modalities compared include: contrast-enhanced CT, F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (PET/CT) and contrast-enhanced MRI.
Methods and Materials
Fourteen patients were simulated after immobilization for all 3 imaging modalities (CT, PET/CT, MRI). Three radiation oncologists (RO) contoured GTVs as seen on each modality. The GTV was contoured first on the contrast-enhanced CT (considered the standard), then on PET/CT, and finally on post-contrast T1 MRI. Interobserver and intermodality variability were analyzed by volume, intersection, union, and volume overlap ratio (VOR).
Analysis of RO contours revealed the average volume for CT-, PET/CT-, and MRI-derived GTVs were 45cc, 35cc and 49cc, respectively. In 93% of cases PET/CT-derived GTVs had the smallest volume and in 57% of cases MRI-derived GTVs had the largest volume. CT showed the largest variation in target definition (standard deviation amongst observers 35%) compared to PET/CT (28%) and MRI (27%). The VOR was largest (indicating greatest interobserver agreement) in PET/CT (46%), followed by MRI (36%), followed by CT (34%). For each observer, the least agreement in GTV definition occurred between MRI & PET/CT (average VOR = 41%), compared to CT & PET/CT (48%) and CT & MRI (47%).
A nonsignificant interobserver difference in GTVs for each modality was seen. Among three modalities, CT was least consistent, while PET/CT-derived GTVs had the smallest volumes and were most consistent. MRI combined with PET/CT provided the least agreement in GTVs generated. The significance of these differences for head & neck cancer is important to explore as we move to volume-based treatment planning based on multi-modality imaging as a standard method for treatment delivery.
PMCID: PMC4283948  PMID: 25568889
5.  Gradient-based delineation of the primary GTV on FLT PET in squamous cell cancer of the thoracic esophagus and impact on radiotherapy planning 
To validate a gradient-based segmentation method for gross tumor volume(GTV) delineation on 8F-fluorothymidine (FLT)positron emission tomography (PET)/ computer tomography (CT) in esophageal squamous cell cancer through pathologic specimen, in comparison with standardized uptake values (SUV) threshold-based methods and CT. The corresponding impact of this GTV delineation method on treatment planning was evaluated.
Methods and materials
Ten patients with esophageal squamous cell cancer were enrolled. Before radical surgery, all patients underwent FLT-PET/CT. GTVs were delineated by using four methods. GTVGRAD, GTV1.4 and GTV30%max were segmented on FLT PET using a gradient-based method, a fixed threshold of 1.4 SUV and 30% of SUVmax, respectively. GTVCT was based on CT data alone. The maximum longitudinal tumor length of each segmented GTV was compared with the measured tumor length of the pathologic gross tumor length (LPath). GTVGRAD, GTV1.4 and GTV30%max were compared with GTVCT by overlap index. Two radiotherapy plannings (planGRAD) and (planCT) were designed for each patient based on GTVGRAD and GTVCT. The dose-volume parameters for target volume and normal tissues, CI and HI of planGRAD and planCT were compared.
The mean ± standard deviation of LPath was 6.47 ± 2.70 cm. The mean ± standard deviation of LGRAD,L1.4, L30%max and LCT were 6.22 ± 2.61, 6.23 ± 2.80, 5.95 ± 2.50,7.17 ± 2.28 cm, respectively. The Pearson correlation coefficients between LPath and each segmentation method were 0.989, 0.920, 0.920 and 0.862, respectively. The overlap indices of GTVGRAD, GTV1.4, GTV30%max when compared with GTVCT were 0.75 ± 0.12, 0.71 ± 0.12, 0.57 ± 0.10, respectively. The V5, V10, V20, V30 and mean dose of total-lung,V30 and mean dose of heart of planGRAD were significantly lower than planCT.
The gradient-based method provided the closest estimation of target length. The radiotherapy plannings based on the gradient-based segmentation method reduced the irradiated volume of lung, heart in comparison to CT.
PMCID: PMC4331414  PMID: 25572431
Esophageal carcinoma; Radiotherapy; FLT-PET; GTV delineation
6.  Correlation Between Pretreatment FDG-PET Biological Target Volume and Anatomical Location of Failure after Radiation Therapy for Head & Neck Cancers 
Background and Purpose:
To assess whether the pretreatment FDG-PET defined biologic target volume (PET-BTV) correlates with the anatomical sites of loco-regional failure (LRF) after RT for head & neck cancer (HNC).
Materials & Methods:
We retrospectively identified 61 HNC patients treated definitively with either 3-D CRT or IMRT who had a pre-therapy PET/CT. The GTV and high risk CTV1 definitions included composite data obtained from diagnostic CT, PET/CT, physical examination, and MRI when available. The median CTV1 dose was 70Gy. 95% received chemotherapy. For patients with LRF, a recurrence volume (Vr) was identified and was mapped to the pretreatment planning CT and pretreatment PET scan.
At a median follow-up of 22 months, 15% (9/61) patients had LRF. For patients with a LRF, 100% (9/9) of failures were inside the GTV. One of nine [11% (95% CI: 3%-45%)] had Vr which mapped outside of the pretreatment PETBTV, while 8/9 patients had Vr within the PET-BTV. Predictors of LRF in our series included GTV volume (p=0.003), but not mean SUV (p=0.13) or max SUV (p=0.25).
Following treatment in which the GTV was defined based on the composite of imaging and physica examination, the majority, but not all, LRF occurred within the PET-BTV. These results support an important, but not exclusive, role of FDG-PET in defining the GTV.
PMCID: PMC2684445  PMID: 18555547
Positron-Emission Tomography; Radiotherapy; Head and Neck Neoplasms
7.  Utilization of PET-CT in target volume delineation for three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy in patients with non-small cell lung cancer and atelectasis 
To investigate the utilization of PET-CT in target volume delineation for three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and atelectasis.
Thirty NSCLC patients who underwent radical radiotherapy from August 2010 to March 2012 were included in this study. All patients were pathologically confirmed to have atelectasis by imaging examination. PET-CT scanning was performed in these patients. According to the PET-CT scan results, the gross tumor volume (GTV) and organs at risk (OARs, including the lungs, heart, esophagus and spinal cord) were delineated separately both on CT and PET-CT images. The clinical target volume (CTV) was defined as the GTV plus a margin of 6-8 mm, and the planning target volume (PTV) as the GTV plus a margin of 10-15mm. An experienced physician was responsible for designing treatment plans PlanCT and PlanPET-CT on CT image sets. 95% of the PTV was encompassed by the 90% isodose curve, and the two treatment plans kept the same beam direction, beam number, gantry angle, and position of the multi-leaf collimator as much as possible. The GTV was compared using a target delineation system, and doses distributions to OARs were compared on the basis of dose-volume histogram (DVH) parameters.
The GTVCT and GTVPET-CT had varying degrees of change in all 30 patients, and the changes in the GTVCT and GTVPET-CT exceeded 25% in 12 (40%) patients. The GTVPET-CT decreased in varying degrees compared to the GTVCT in 22 patients. Their median GTVPET-CT and median GTVPET-CT were 111.4 cm3 (range, 37.8 cm3-188.7 cm3) and 155.1 cm3 (range, 76.2 cm3-301.0 cm3), respectively, and the former was 43.7 cm3 (28.2%) less than the latter. The GTVPET-CT increased in varying degrees compared to the GTVCT in 8 patients. Their median GTVPET-CT and median GTVPET-CT were 144.7 cm3 (range, 125.4 cm3-178.7 cm3) and 125.8 cm3 (range, 105.6 cm3-153.5 cm3), respectively, and the former was 18.9 cm3 (15.0%) greater than the latter. Compared to PlanCT parameters, PlanPET-CT parameters showed varying degrees of changes. The changes in lung V20, V30, esophageal V50 and V55 were statistically significant (Ps< 0.05 for all), while the differences in mean lung dose, lung V5, V10, V15, heart V30, mean esophageal dose, esophagus Dmax, and spinal cord Dmax were not significant (Ps> 0.05 for all).
PET-CT allows a better distinction between the collapsed lung tissue and tumor tissue, improving the accuracy of radiotherapy target delineation, and reducing radiation damage to the surrounding OARs in NSCLC patients with atelectasis.
PMCID: PMC3608960  PMID: 23506629
Atelectasis; PET-CT; Non-small cell lung cancer; Target volume; Three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy
8.  Efficacy of FDG-PET for defining gross tumor volume of head and neck cancer 
Journal of Radiation Research  2013;54(4):671-678.
We analyzed the data for 53 patients with histologically proven primary squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck treated with radiotherapy between February 2006 and August 2009. All patients underwent contrast-enhanced (CE)-CT and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-PET before radiation therapy planning (RTP) to define the gross tumor volume (GTV). The PET-based GTV (PET-GTV) for RTP was defined using both CE-CT images and FDG-PET images. The CE-CT tumor volume corresponding to a FDG-PET image was regarded as the PET-GTV. The CE-CT-based GTV (CT-GTV) for RTP was defined using CE-CT images alone. Additionally, CT-GTV delineation and PET-GTV delineation were performed by four radiation oncologists independently in 19 cases. All four oncologists did both methods. Of these, PET-GTV delineation was successfully performed in all 19 cases, but CT-GTV delineation was not performed in 4 cases. In the other 15 cases, the mean CT-GTV was larger than the PET-GTV in 10 cases, and the standard deviation of the CT-GTV was larger than that of the PET-GTV in 10 cases. Sensitivity of PET-GTV for identifying the primary tumor was 96%, but that of CT-GTV was 81% (P < 0.01). In patients with oropharyngeal cancer and tongue cancer, the sensitivity of CT-GTV was 63% and 71%, respectively. When both the primary lesions and the lymph nodes were evaluated for RTP, PET-GTV differed from CT-GTV in 19 cases (36%). These results suggested that FDG-PET is effective for defining GTV in RTP for squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, and PET-GTV evaluated by both CE-CT and FDG-PET images is preferable to CT-GTV by CE-CT alone.
PMCID: PMC3709660  PMID: 23287772
FDG-PET; gross tumor volume; target delineation; head and neck cancer
9.  Impact of 18F-FDG PET/CT on target volume delineation in recurrent or residual gynaecologic carcinoma 
To evaluate the impact of 18F-FDG PET/CT on target volume delineation in gynaecological cancer.
F-FDG PET/CT based RT treatment planning was performed in 10 patients with locally recurrent (n = 5) or post-surgical residual gynaecological cancer (n = 5). The gross tumor volume (GTV) was defined by 4 experienced radiation oncologists first using contrast enhanced CT (GTVCT) and secondly using the fused 18F-FDG PET/CT datasets (GTVPET/CT). In addition, the GTV was delineated using the signal-to-background (SBR) ratio-based adaptive thresholding technique (GTVSBR). Overlap analysis were conducted to assess geographic mismatches between the GTVs delineated using the different techniques. Inter- and intra-observer variability were also assessed.
The mean GTVCT (43.65 cm3) was larger than the mean GTVPET/CT (33.06 cm3), p = 0.02. In 6 patients, GTVPET/CT added substantial tumor extension outside the GTVCT even though 90.4% of the GTVPET/CT was included in the GTVCT and 30.2% of the GTVCT was found outside the GTVPET/CT. The inter- and intra-observer variability was not significantly reduced with the inclusion of 18F-FDG PET imaging (p = 0.23 and p = 0.18, respectively). The GTVSBR was smaller than GTVCT p ≤ 0.005 and GTVPET/CT p ≤ 0.005.
The use of 18F-FDG PET/CT images for target volume delineation of recurrent or post-surgical residual gynaecological cancer alters the GTV in the majority of patients compared to standard CT-definition. The use of SBR-based auto-delineation showed significantly smaller GTVs. The use of PET/CT based target volume delineation may improve the accuracy of RT treatment planning in gynaecologic cancer.
PMCID: PMC3494570  PMID: 23088346
Gynaecologic cancer; PET/CT; Radiotherapy; Target volume delineation; Observer variability
10.  The impact of 18 F-FET PET-CT on target definition in image-guided stereotactic radiotherapy in patients with skull base lesions 
Cancer Imaging  2014;14(1):25.
18 F-fluoro-ethyl-tyrosine PET is gaining more indications in the field of oncology. We investigated the potentials of usage of FET-PET/CT in addition to MRI for definition of gross tumor volume (GTV) in stereotactic radiotherapy of lesions of skull base.
We included in a prospective setting 21 cases. An MRI was performed, completed by FET PET/CT. Different GTV’s were defined based on respective imaging tools: 1. GTVMRI, 2. GTV MRI /CT, 3. GTV composit (1 + 2), and GTVPET = GTV Boost. Lesions could be visualised by MRI and FET-PET/CT in all patients.
FET tracer enhancement was found in all cases. Skull base infiltration by these lesions was observed by MRI, CT (PET/CT) and FET-PET (PET/CT) in all patients. Totally, brain tissue infiltration was seen in 10 patients. While, in 7 (out 10) cases, MRI and CT (from PET/CT) were indicating brain infiltration, FET-PET could add additional information regarding infiltrative behaviour: in 3 (out 10) patients, infiltration of the brain was displayed merely in FET-PET. An enlargement of GTVMRI/CT due to the FET-PET driven information, which revealed GTVcomposite , was necessary in 7 cases,. This enlargement was significant by definition (> 10% of GTVMRI/CT). The mean PET-effect on GTV counted for 1 ± 4 cm3. The restricted boost fields were based mainly on the GTVPET volume. In mean, about 8.5 cm3 of GTVMRI/CT, which showed no FET uptake, were excluded from target volume. GTVboost driven by only-PET-activity, was in mean by 33% smaller than the initial large treatment field, GTVcomposite, for those cases received boost treatment. FET-PET lead to significant (>10%) changes in the initial treatment fields in 11/21 patients and showed additional tumour volume relevant for radiation planning in 6/21 cases, and led to a subsequent decrease of more than 10% of the initial volumes for the boost fields.
The implementation of FET PET into the planning procedures showed a benefit in terms of accurate definition of skull base lesions as targets for Image-guided stereotactic Radiotherapy. This has to be investigated prospectively in larger cohorts.
PMCID: PMC4331830  PMID: 25608761
FET-PET; Skull base; Image-guided; Stereotactic radiotherapy
11.  Failure Patterns in Patients with Esophageal Cancer Treated with Definitive Chemoradiation 
Cancer  2011;118(10):2632-2640.
Local failure after definitive chemoradiation therapy for unresectable esophageal cancer remains problematic. Little is known about the failure pattern based on modern day radiation treatment volumes. We hypothesized that most local failures would be within the gross tumor volume (GTV), where the bulk of the tumor burden resides.
Methods and Materials
We reviewed treatment volumes for 239 patients who underwent definitive chemoradiation therapy and compared this information with failure patterns on follow-up positron emission (PET). Failures were categorized as within the GTV, the larger clinical target volume (CTV, which encompasses microscopic disease), or the still larger planning target volume (PTV, which encompasses setup variability) or outside the radiation field.
At a median follow-up time of 52.6 months (95% CI: 46.1 – 56.7 months), 119 patients (50%) had experienced local failure, 114 (48%) had distant failure, and 74 (31%) had no evidence of failure. Of all local failures, 107 (90%) were in the GTV, 27 (23%) in the CTV; and 14 (12%) in the PTV. In multivariate analysis, GTV failure was associated with tumor status (T3/T4 vs. T1/T2: OR=6.35, p value =0.002), change in standardized uptake value on PET before and after treatment (decrease >52%: OR=0.368, p value = 0.003) and tumor length (>8 cm: 4.08, p value = 0.009).
Most local failures after definitive chemoradiation for unresectable esophageal cancer occur in the GTV. Future therapeutic strategies should focus on enhancing local control.
PMCID: PMC3747650  PMID: 22565611
Esophageal cancer; dose escalation; failure patterns
12.  The clinical application of 4D 18F-FDG PET/CT on gross tumor volume delineation for radiotherapy planning in esophageal squamous cell cancer 
Journal of radiation research  2012;53(4):594-600.
A combination of four-dimensional computed tomography with 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (4D CT-FDG PET) was used to delineate gross tumor volume (GTV) in esophageal cancer (EC). Eighteen patients with EC were prospectively enrolled. Using 4D images taken during the respiratory cycle, the average CT image phase was fused with the average FDG PET phase in order to analyze the optimal standardized uptake values (SUV) or threshold. PET-based GTV (GTVPET) was determined with eight different threshold methods using the auto-contouring function on the PET workstation. The difference in volume ratio (VR) and conformality index (CI) between GTVPET and CT-based GTV (GTVCT) was investigated. The image sets via automatic co-registrations of 4D CT-FDG PET were available for 12 patients with 13 GTVCT values. The decision coefficient (R2) of tumor length difference at the threshold levels of SUV 2.5, SUV 20% and SUV 25% were 0.79, 0.65 and 0.54, respectively. The mean volume of GTVCT was 29.41 ± 19.14 ml. The mean VR ranged from 0.30 to 1.48. The optimal VR of 0.98, close to 1, was at SUV 20% or SUV 2.5. The mean CI ranged from 0.28 to 0.58. The best CI was at SUV 20% (0.58) or SUV 2.5 (0.57). The auto-contouring function of the SUV threshold has the potential to assist in contouring the GTV. The SUV threshold setting of SUV 20% or SUV 2.5 achieves the optimal correlation of tumor length, VR, and CI using 4D-PET/CT images.
PMCID: PMC3393356  PMID: 22843625
FDG PET/CT; gross tumor volume; radiotherapy; esophageal cancer
13.  CyberKnife radiosurgery for inoperable stage IA non-small cell lung cancer: 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography serial tumor response assessment 
To report serial 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) tumor response following CyberKnife radiosurgery for stage IA non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Patients with biopsy-proven inoperable stage IA NSCLC were enrolled into this IRB-approved study. Targeting was based on 3-5 gold fiducial markers implanted in or near tumors. Gross tumor volumes (GTVs) were contoured using lung windows; margins were expanded by 5 mm to establish the planning treatment volumes (PTVs). Doses ranged from 42-60 Gy in 3 equal fractions. 18F-FDG PET/CT was performed prior to and at 3-6-month, 9-15 months and 18-24 months following treatment. The tumor maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) was recorded for each time point.
Twenty patients with an average maximum tumor diameter of 2.2 cm were treated over a 3-year period. A mean dose of 51 Gy was delivered to the PTV in 3 to 11 days (mean, 7 days). The 30-Gy isodose contour extended an average of 2 cm from the GTV. At a median follow-up of 43 months, the 2-year Kaplan-Meier overall survival estimate was 90% and the local control estimate was 95%. Mean tumor SUVmax before treatment was 6.2 (range, 2.0 to 10.7). During early follow-up the mean tumor SUVmax remained at 2.3 (range, 1.0 to 5.7), despite transient elevations in individual tumor SUVmax levels attributed to peritumoral radiation-induced pneumonitis visible on CT imaging. At 18-24 months the mean tumor SUVmax for controlled tumors was 2.0, with
a narrow range of values (range, 1.5 to 2.8). A single local failure was confirmed at 24 months in a patient with an elevated tumor SUVmax of 8.4.
Local control and survival following CyberKnife radiosurgery for stage IA NSCLC is exceptional. Early transient increases in tumor SUVmax are likely related to radiation-induced pneumonitis. Tumor SUVmaxvalues return to background levels at 18-24 months, enhancing 18F-FDG PET/CT detection of local failure. The value of 18F-FDG PET/CT imaging for surveillance following lung SBRT deserves further study.
PMCID: PMC2830958  PMID: 20132557
14.  Comparison of CT and integrated PET-CT based radiation therapy planning in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma 
When combined with adequate tumoricidal doses, accurate target volume delineation remains to be the one of the most important predictive factors for radiotherapy (RT) success in locally advanced or medically inoperable malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) patients. Recently, 18-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (PET) has demonstrated significant improvements in diagnosis and accurate staging of MPM. However, role of additional PET data has not been studied in RT planning (RTP) of patients with inoperable MPM or in those who refuse surgery. Therefore, we planned to compare CT with co-registered PET-CT as the basis for delineating target volumes in these patients group.
Retrospectively, the CT and co-registered PET-CT data of 13 patients with histologically proven MPM were utilized to delineate target volumes separately. For each patient, target volumes (gross tumor volume [GTV], clinical target volume [CTV], and planning target volume [PTV]) were defined using the CT and PET-CT fusion data sets. The PTV was measured in two ways: PTV1 was CTV plus a 1-cm margin, and PTV2 was GTV plus a 1-cm margin. We analyzed differences in target volumes.
In 12 of 13 patients, compared to CT-based delineation, PET-CT-based delineation resulted in a statistically significant decrease in the mean GTV, CTV, PTV1, and PTV2. In these 12 patients, mean GTV decreased by 47.1% ± 28.4%, mean CTV decreased by 38.7% ± 24.7%, mean PTV1 decreased by 31.1% ± 23.1%, and mean PTV2 decreased by 40.0% ± 24.0%. In 4 of 13 patients, hilar lymph nodes were identified by PET-CT that was not identified by CT alone, changing the nodal status of tumor staging in those patients.
This study demonstrated the usefulness of PET-CT-based target volume delineation in patients with MPM. Co-registration of PET and CT information reduces the likelihood of geographic misses, and additionally, significant reductions observed in target volumes may potentially allow escalation of RT dose beyond conventional limits potential clinical benefits in tumor control rates, which needs to be tested in future studies.
PMCID: PMC2754492  PMID: 19758456
15.  3 Tesla multiparametric MRI for GTV-definition of Dominant Intraprostatic Lesions in patients with Prostate Cancer – an interobserver variability study 
To evaluate the interobserver variability of gross tumor volume (GTV) - delineation of Dominant Intraprostatic Lesions (DIPL) in patients with prostate cancer using published MRI criteria for multiparametric MRI at 3 Tesla by 6 different observers.
Material and methods
90 GTV-datasets based on 15 multiparametric MRI sequences (T2w, diffusion weighted (DWI) and dynamic contrast enhanced (DCE)) of 5 patients with prostate cancer were generated for GTV-delineation of DIPL by 6 observers. The reference GTV-dataset was contoured by a radiologist with expertise in diagnostic imaging of prostate cancer using MRI. Subsequent GTV-delineation was performed by 5 radiation oncologists who received teaching of MRI-features of primary prostate cancer before starting contouring session. GTV-datasets were contoured using Oncentra Masterplan® and iplan® Net. For purposes of comparison GTV-datasets were imported to the Artiview® platform (Aquilab®), GTV-values and the similarity indices or Kappa indices (KI) were calculated with the postulation that a KI > 0.7 indicates excellent, a KI > 0.6 to < 0.7 substantial and KI > 0.5 to < 0.6 moderate agreement. Additionally all observers rated difficulties of contouring for each MRI-sequence using a 3 point rating scale (1 = easy to delineate, 2 = minor difficulties, 3 = major difficulties).
GTV contouring using T2w (KI-T2w = 0.61) and DCE images (KI-DCE = 0.63) resulted in substantial agreement. GTV contouring using DWI images resulted in moderate agreement (KI-DWI = 0.51). KI-T2w and KI-DCE was significantly higher than KI-DWI (p = 0.01 and p = 0.003). Degree of difficulty in contouring GTV was significantly lower using T2w and DCE compared to DWI-sequences (both p < 0.0001). Analysis of delineation differences revealed inadequate comparison of functional (DWI, DCE) to anatomical sequences (T2w) and lack of awareness of non-specific imaging findings as a source of erroneous delineation.
Using T2w and DCE sequences at 3 Tesla for GTV-definition of DIPL in prostate cancer patients by radiation oncologists with knowledge of MRI features results in substantial agreement compared to an experienced MRI-radiologist, but for radiotherapy purposes higher KI are desirable, strengthen the need for expert surveillance. DWI sequence for GTV delineation was considered as difficult in application.
PMCID: PMC3828667  PMID: 23875672
Prostate cancer; Gross tumor volume; Focal dose escalation; Simultaneous integrated boost; 3 Tesla MRI; Interobserver variability
16.  A Phase II Comparative Study of Gross Tumor Volume Definition With or Without PET/CT Fusion in Dosimetric Planning for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC): Primary Analysis of Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) 0515 
RTOG 0515 is a Phase II prospective trial designed to quantify the impact of PET/CT compared to CT alone on radiation treatment plans (RTPs) and to determine the rate of elective nodal failure for PET/CT derived volumes.
Each enrolled patient underwent definitive radiation therapy for NSCLC (≥60 Gy) and had two RTP datasets generated: gross tumor volume (GTV) derived with CT alone and with PET/CT. Patients received treatment using the PET/CT-derived plan. The primary endpoint, the impact of PET/CT fusion on treatment plans was measured by differences of the following variables for each patient: GTV, number of involved nodes, nodal station, mean lung dose (MLD), volume of lung exceeding 20 Gy (V20), and mean esophageal dose (MED). Regional failure rate was a secondary endpoint. The nonparametric Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-ranks test was used with Bonferroni adjustment for an overall significance level of 0.05.
RTOG 0515 accrued 52 patients, 47 of whom are evaluable. The follow-up time for all patients is 12.9 months (2.7–22.2). Tumor staging was as follows: II = 6%; IIIA = 40%; and IIIB = 54%. The GTV was statistically significantly smaller for PET/CT-derived volumes (98.7 vs. 86.2 cc; p<0.0001). MLDs for PET/CT plans were slightly lower (19 vs. 17.8 Gy; p=0.06). There was no significant difference in the number of involved nodes (2.1 vs. 2.4), V20 (32% vs. 30.8%), or MED (28.7 vs. 27.1 Gy). Nodal contours were altered by PET/CT for 51% of patients. One patient (2%) has developed an elective nodal failure.
PET/CT-derived tumor volumes were smaller than those derived by CT alone. PET/CT changed nodal GTV contours in 51% of patients. The elective nodal failure rate for GTVs derived by PET/CT is quite low, supporting the RTOG standard of limiting the target volume to the primary tumor and involved nodes.
PMCID: PMC3117034  PMID: 21075551
Lung Cancer; FDG-PET; Mediastinal nodal staging; mediastinum
17.  [(18)F]Fluoroethyltyrosine- positron emission tomography-guided radiotherapy for high-grade glioma 
To compare morphological gross tumor volumes (GTVs), defined as pre- and postoperative gadolinium enhancement on T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging to biological tumor volumes (BTVs), defined by the uptake of 18F fluoroethyltyrosine (FET) for the radiotherapy planning of high-grade glioma, using a dedicated positron emission tomography (PET)-CT scanner equipped with three triangulation lasers for patient positioning.
Nineteen patients with malignant glioma were included into a prospective protocol using FET PET-CT for radiotherapy planning. To be eligible, patients had to present with residual disease after surgery. Planning was performed using the clinical target volume (CTV = GTV ∪ BTV) and planning target volume (PTV = CTV + 20 mm). First, the interrater reliability for BTV delineation was assessed among three observers. Second, the BTV and GTV were quantified and compared. Finally, the geometrical relationships between GTV and BTV were assessed.
Interrater agreement for BTV delineation was excellent (intraclass correlation coefficient 0.9). Although, BTVs and GTVs were not significantly different (p = 0.9), CTVs (mean 57.8 ± 30.4 cm3) were significantly larger than BTVs (mean 42.1 ± 24.4 cm3; p < 0.01) or GTVs (mean 38.7 ± 25.7 cm3; p < 0.01). In 13 (68%) and 6 (32%) of 19 patients, FET uptake extended ≥ 10 and 20 mm from the margin of the gadolinium enhancement.
Using FET, the interrater reliability had excellent agreement for BTV delineation. With FET PET-CT planning, the size and geometrical location of GTVs and BTVs differed in a majority of patients.
PMCID: PMC2628662  PMID: 19108742
18.  The Anatomical Biological Value on Pretreatment 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography Predicts Response and Survival in Locally Advanced Head and Neck Cancer 
World Journal of Nuclear Medicine  2014;13(2):102-107.
18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) has become increasingly relevant in the staging of head and neck cancers, but its prognostic value is controversial. The objective of this study was to evaluate different PET/CT parameters for their ability to predict response to therapy and survival in patients treated for head and neck cancer. A total of 28 consecutive patients with a variety of newly diagnosed head and neck cancers underwent PET/CT scanning at our institution before initiating definitive radiation therapy. All underwent a posttreatment PET/CT to gauge tumor response. Pretreatment PET/CT parameters calculated include the standardized uptake value (SUV) and the anatomical biological value (ABV), which is the product of SUV and greatest tumor diameter. Maximum and mean values were studied for both SUV and ABV, and correlated with response rate and survival. The mean pretreatment tumor ABVmax decreased from 35.5 to 7.9 (P = 0.0001). Of the parameters tested, only pretreatment ABVmax was significantly different among those patients with a complete response (CR) and incomplete response (22.8 vs. 65, respectively, P = 0.021). This difference was maximized at a cut-off ABVmax of 30 and those patients with ABVmax < 30 were significantly more likely to have a CR compared to those with ABVmax of ≥ 30 (93.8% vs. 50%, respectively, P = 0.023). The 5-year overall survival was 80% compared to 36%, respectively, (P = 0.028). Multivariate analysis confirmed that ABVmax was an independent prognostic factor. Our data supports the use of PET/CT, and specifically ABVmax, as a prognostic factor in head and neck cancer. Patients who have an ABVmax ≥ 30 were more likely to have a poor outcome with chemoradiation alone, and a more aggressive trimodality approach may be indicated in these patients.
PMCID: PMC4150151  PMID: 25191124
18F-fluorodeoxyglucose; head and neck cancer; positron emission tomography/computed tomography
To assess the pattern of local failure using 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-positron emission tomography (PET) scans after radiotherapy (RT) in non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients treated with definitive RT whose gross tumor volumes (GTVs) were defined with the aid of pre-RT PET data.
Method and Materials
The data from 26 patients treated with involved-field RT who had local failure and a post-RT PET scan were analyzed. The patterns of failure were visually scored and defined as follows: (1) within the GTV/planning target volume (PTV); (2) within the GTV, PTV, and outward; (3) within the PTV and outward; and (4) outside the PTV. Local failure was also evaluated as originating from nodal areas vs. the primary tumor.
We analyzed 34 lesions. All 26 patients had recurrence originating from their primary tumor. Of the 34 lesions, 8 (24%) were in nodal areas, 5 of which (63%) were marginal or geographic misses compared with only 1 (4%) of the 26 primary recurrences (p = 0.001). Of the eight primary tumors that had received a dose of <60 Gy, six (75%) had failure within the GTVand two (25%) at the GTV margin. At doses of ≥60 Gy, 6 (33%) of 18 had failure within the GTV and 11 (61%) at the GTV margin, and 1 (6%) was a marginal miss (p < 0.05).
At lower doses, the pattern of recurrences was mostly within the GTV, suggesting that the dose might have been a factor for tumor control. At greater doses, the treatment failures were mostly at the margin of the GTV. This suggests that visual incorporation of PET data for GTV delineation might be inadequate, and more sophisticated approaches of PET registration should be evaluated.
PMCID: PMC2899687  PMID: 18374225
Non–small-cell lung cancer; FDG-PET scan; Local failure; Definitive radiotherapy
20.  Application of machine learning methodology for pet-based definition of lung cancer 
Current Oncology  2010;17(1):41-47.
We applied a learning methodology framework to assist in the threshold-based segmentation of non-small-cell lung cancer (nsclc) tumours in positron-emission tomography–computed tomography (pet–ct) imaging for use in radiotherapy planning. Gated and standard free-breathing studies of two patients were independently analysed (four studies in total). Each study had a pet–ct and a treatment-planning ct image. The reference gross tumour volume (gtv) was identified by two experienced radiation oncologists who also determined reference standardized uptake value (suv) thresholds that most closely approximated the gtv contour on each slice. A set of uptake distribution-related attributes was calculated for each pet slice. A machine learning algorithm was trained on a subset of the pet slices to cope with slice-to-slice variation in the optimal suv threshold: that is, to predict the most appropriate suv threshold from the calculated attributes for each slice. The algorithm’s performance was evaluated using the remainder of the pet slices. A high degree of geometric similarity was achieved between the areas outlined by the predicted and the reference suv thresholds (Jaccard index exceeding 0.82). No significant difference was found between the gated and the free-breathing results in the same patient. In this preliminary work, we demonstrated the potential applicability of a machine learning methodology as an auxiliary tool for radiation treatment planning in nsclc.
PMCID: PMC2826776  PMID: 20179802
Positron-emission tomography; pet; radiation treatment; lung cancer; gross tumour volume; gtv; artificial intelligence; machine learning; support vector machine; svm
21.  Computer-assisted delineation of lung tumor regions in treatment planning CT images with PET/CT image sets based on an optimum contour selection method 
Journal of Radiation Research  2014;55(6):1153-1162.
To assist radiation oncologists in the delineation of tumor regions during treatment planning for lung cancer, we have proposed an automated contouring algorithm based on an optimum contour selection (OCS) method for treatment planning computed tomography (CT) images with positron emission tomography (PET)/CT images. The basic concept of the OCS is to select a global optimum object contour based on multiple active delineations with a level set method around tumors. First, the PET images were registered to the planning CT images by using affine transformation matrices. The initial gross tumor volume (GTV) of each lung tumor was identified by thresholding the PET image at a certain standardized uptake value, and then each initial GTV location was corrected in the region of interest of the planning CT image. Finally, the contours of final GTV regions were determined in the planning CT images by using the OCS. The proposed method was evaluated by testing six cases with a Dice similarity coefficient (DSC), which denoted the degree of region similarity between the GTVs contoured by radiation oncologists and the proposed method. The average three-dimensional DSC for the six cases was 0.78 by the proposed method, but only 0.34 by a conventional method based on a simple level set method. The proposed method may be helpful for treatment planners in contouring the GTV regions.
PMCID: PMC4229921  PMID: 24980022
computer-assisted delineation; lung tumor; PET/CT images; level set method; gross tumor volume (GTV)
22.  CyberKnife with Tumor Tracking: An Effective Treatment for High-Risk Surgical Patients with Stage I Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer 
Published data suggests that wedge resection for stage I non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is associated with improved overall survival compared to stereotactic body radiation therapy. We report CyberKnife outcomes for high-risk surgical patients with biopsy-proven stage I NSCLC. PET/CT imaging was completed for staging. Three-to-five gold fiducial markers were implanted in or near tumors to serve as targeting references. Gross tumor volumes (GTVs) were contoured using lung windows; the margins were expanded by 5 mm to establish the planning treatment volume (PTV). Treatment plans were designed using a mean of 156 pencil beams. Doses delivered to the PTV ranged from 42 to 60 Gy in three fractions. The 30 Gy isodose contour extended at least 1 cm from the GTV to eradicate microscopic disease. Treatments were delivered using the CyberKnife system with tumor tracking. Examination and PET/CT imaging occurred at 3 month follow-up intervals. Forty patients (median age 76) with a median maximum tumor diameter of 2.6 cm (range, 1.4–5.0 cm) and a mean post-bronchodilator percent predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) of 57% (range, 21–111%) were treated. A median dose of 48 Gy was delivered to the PTV over 3–13 days (median, 7 days). The 30 Gy isodose contour extended a mean 1.9 cm from the GTV. At a median 44 months (range, 12–72 months) follow-up, the 3 year Kaplan–Meier locoregional control and overall survival estimates compare favorably with contemporary wedge resection outcomes at 91 and 75%, respectively. CyberKnife is an effective treatment approach for stage I NSCLC that is similar to wedge resection, eradicating tumors with 1–2 cm margins in order to preserve lung function. Prospective randomized trials comparing CyberKnife with wedge resection are necessary to confirm equivalence.
PMCID: PMC3356163  PMID: 22655258
non-small cell lung cancer; CyberKnife; stereotactic body radiation therapy; wedge resection
23.  Automated biological target volume delineation for radiotherapy treatment planning using FDG-PET/CT 
This study compared manually delineated gross tumour volume (GTV) and automatically generated biological tumour volume (BTV) based on fluoro-deoxy-glucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET)/CT to assess the robustness of predefined PET algorithms for radiotherapy (RT) planning in routine clinical practice.
RT-planning data from 20 consecutive patients (lung- (40%), oesophageal- (25%), gynaecological- (25%) and colorectal (10%) cancer) who had undergone FDG-PET/CT planning between 08/2010 and 09/2011 were retrospectively analysed, five of them underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy before radiotherapy. In addition to manual GTV contouring, automated segmentation algorithms were applied–among these 38%, 42%, 47% and 50% SUVmax as well as the PERCIST total lesion glycolysis (TLG) algorithm. Different ratios were calculated to assess the overlap of GTV and BTV including the conformity index and the ratio GTV included within the BTV.
Median age of the patients was 66 years and median tumour SUVmax 9.2. Median size of the GTVs defined by the radiation oncologist was 43.7 ml. Median conformity indices were between 30.0–37.8%. The highest amount of BTV within GTV was seen with the 38% SUVmax algorithm (49.0%), the lowest with 50% SUVmax (36.0%). Best agreement was obtained for oesophageal cancer patients with a conformity index of 56.4% and BTV within GTV ratio of 71.1%.
At present there is only low concordance between manually derived GTVs and automatically segmented FDG-PET/CT based BTVs indicating the need for further research in order to achieve higher volumetric conformity and therefore to get access to the full potential of FDG-PET/CT for optimization of radiotherapy planning.
PMCID: PMC3722117  PMID: 23848981
PET/CT; Planning study; BTV; Target delineation
24.  [68Ga]-DOTATOC-PET/CT for meningioma IMRT treatment planning 
The observation that human meningioma cells strongly express somatostatin receptor (SSTR 2) was the rationale to analyze retrospectively in how far DOTATOC PET/CT is helpful to improve target volume delineation for intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT).
Patients and Methods
In 26 consecutive patients with preferentially skull base meningioma, diagnostic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and planning-computed tomography (CT) was complemented with data from [68Ga]-DOTA-D Phe1-Tyr3-Octreotide (DOTATOC)-PET/CT. Image fusion of PET/CT, diagnostic computed tomography, MRI and radiotherapy planning CT as well as target volume delineation was performed with OTP-Masterplan®. Initial gross tumor volume (GTV) definition was based on MRI data only and was secondarily complemented with DOTATOC-PET information. Irradiation was performed as EUD based IMRT, using the Hyperion Software package.
The integration of the DOTATOC data led to additional information concerning tumor extension in 17 of 26 patients (65%). There were major changes of the clinical target volume (CTV) which modify the PTV in 14 patients, minor changes were realized in 3 patients. Overall the GTV-MRI/CT was larger than the GTV-PET in 10 patients (38%), smaller in 13 patients (50%) and almost the same in 3 patients (12%). Most of the adaptations were performed in close vicinity to bony skull base structures or after complex surgery. Median GTV based on MRI was 18.1 cc, based on PET 25.3 cc and subsequently the CTV was 37.4 cc. Radiation planning and treatment of the DOTATOC-adapted volumes was feasible.
DOTATOC-PET/CT information may strongly complement patho-anatomical data from MRI and CT in cases with complex meningioma and is thus helpful for improved target volume delineation especially for skull base manifestations and recurrent disease after surgery.
PMCID: PMC2785827  PMID: 19922642
25.  A quantitative comparison of gross tumour volumes delineated on [18F]-FDG PET-CT scan and CECT scan in head and neck cancers 
To compare quantitatively Gross tumor volume (GTV), both primary and nodal areas of head and neck cancers, delineated on [18F]-2fluoro, 2deoxy d-glucose-positron emission tomography/computed tomography ([18F]-FDG-PET-CT) scan to those delineated on Contrast-enhanced CT scan (CECT scan).
A total of 26 consecutive patients with squamous cell cancers of head and neck were included in this study. The primary sites were oropharynx (n = 7), hypopharynx (n = 6), paranasal sinus (n = 6), nasopharynx (n = 4), oral cavity (n = 2), and one with unknown primary and secondary neck node. All patients underwent routine staging work-up. FDG-PET and CECT scans were performed with dedicated PET-CT scanner in single session as a part of the radiotherapy treatment planning for Intensity modulated radiotherapy/Image-guided radiotherapy.
All patients had abnormal increased uptake in PET-CT scans. PET-CT resulted in changes of CT-based staging in 8 of 26 patients (up-staged in 7 and down-staged in 1). The mean primary and nodal GTV volumes on PET-CT and CT were significantly different (primary: PET-GTV: 48.43 ± 53.21 cc vs. CT 54.78 ± 64.47 cc, P < 0.001; nodes: PET-GTV: 12.72 ± 15.46 cc vs. 11.04 ± 14.87 cc, P < 0.001). The mismatch between two target volumes was statistically significant (P = 0.03 for GTV primary, P = 0.04 for GTV node).
Accuracy of delineation of GTV can be improved along with functional imaging using [18F]-FDG. These metabolically active volumes are significantly smaller than CT-based volumes and could be missed during conventional CT-based target delineations of GTVs.
PMCID: PMC3665154  PMID: 23723580
[18F]-fluoro-d-glucose; gross tumor volume; radiotherapy

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