Deep learning for segmentation of the cervical cancer gross tumor volume on magnetic resonance imaging for brachytherapy.



The nnU-Net framework achieved state-of-the-art performance in the segmentation of the cervical cancer GTV on BT MRI images. Reasonable median performance was achieved geometrically and dosimetrically but with high variability among patients.


The network achieved a median Dice of 0.73 (interquartile range (IQR) = 0.50-0.80), median 95th HD of 6.8 mm (IQR = 4.2-12.5 mm) and median MSD of 1.4 mm (IQR = 0.90-2.8 mm). The median ΔD90 and ΔD98 were 0.18 Gy (IQR = -1.38-1.19 Gy) and 0.20 Gy (IQR =-1.10-0.95 Gy) respectively. No significant differences in geometric or dosimetric performance were observed between tumors with different FIGO stages, however significantly improved Dice and dosimetric performance was found for larger tumors.


A cohort of 195 cervical cancer patients treated between August 2012 and December 2021 was retrospectively collected. A total of 524 separate BT fractions were included and the axial T2-weighted (T2w) MRI sequence was used for this project. The 3D nnU-Net was used as the automatic segmentation framework. The automatic segmentations were compared with the manual segmentations used for clinical practice with Sørensen-Dice coefficient (Dice), 95th Hausdorff distance (95th HD) and mean surface distance (MSD). The dosimetric impact was defined as the difference in D98 (ΔD98) and D90 (ΔD90) between the manual segmentations and the automatic segmentations, evaluated using the clinical dose distribution. The performance of the network was also compared separately depending on FIGO stage and on GTV volume.


Segmentation of the Gross Tumor Volume (GTV) is a crucial step in the brachytherapy (BT) treatment planning workflow. Currently, radiation oncologists segment the GTV manually, which is time-consuming. The time pressure is particularly critical for BT because during the segmentation process the patient waits immobilized in bed with the applicator in place. Automatic segmentation algorithms can potentially reduce both the clinical workload and the patient burden. Although deep learning based automatic segmentation algorithms have been extensively developed for organs at risk, automatic segmentation of the targets is less common. The aim of this study was to automatically segment the cervical cancer GTV on BT MRI images using a state-of-the-art automatic segmentation framework and assess its performance.

More about this publication

Radiation oncology (London, England)
  • Volume 18
  • Issue nr. 1
  • Pages 91
  • Publication date 29-05-2023

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