Does registration of PET and planning CT images decrease interobserver and intraobserver variation in delineating tumor volumes for non-small-cell lung cancer?

Jana L. Fox, Ramesh Rengan, William O'Meara, Ellen Yorke, Yusuf Erdi, Sadek Nehmeh, Steven A. Leibel, Kenneth E. Rosenzweig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

126 Scopus citations


Purpose: To compare tumor volume delineation using registered positron emission tomography (PET)/CT vs. side-by-side image sets. Methods and Materials: A total of 19 patients with non-small-cell lung cancer had 18-fluorine- deoxyglucose (FDG)-PET scans registered with planning CT scans. The disease was Stage I-II in 26%, IIIA in 42%, and IIIB in 32%. Two radiation oncologists contoured 9 tumor volumes using registered images (registered) and 10 using separate FDG-PET images as a guide (nonregistered). A third physician, who had done the treatment planning for these patients a median of 40 months before using registered images, repeated all contours: 10 on registered images (registered/registered) and 9 without registration (registered/nonregistered). Each pair of volumes (A and B) was compared. Quantitative comparison used the concordance index, (A∩B)/(A∪B). For qualitative analysis, pairs of volumes were projected onto digitally reconstructed radiographs. The differences were graded as insignificant, minor, moderate, or major. Results: The median interobserver percentage of concordance among nonregistered pairs was 61% vs. 70% in the registered group (p <0.05). On qualitative analysis, in the nonregistered group, the differences were insignificant in 5, minor in 3, and moderate in 2 of 10. The differences in the registered group were insignificant in 7 and minor in 2 of 9. The median intraobserver percentage of concordance in the registered/nonregistered group was 58% vs. 71% in the registered/registered group (p = 0.10). On qualitative analysis, the intraobserver differences in the registered/nonregistered group were insignificant in 2, minor in 2, moderate in 0, and major in 5 of 9. In the registered/registered group, the differences were insignificant in 2, minor in 6, moderate in 2, and major in 0 of 10. Conclusion: Registration of FDG-PET and planning CT images results in greater consistency in tumor volume delineation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-75
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2005
Externally publishedYes



  • CT
  • Image registration
  • Non-small-cell lung cancer
  • Radiotherapy planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research

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