Deep learning model for automatic contouring of cardiovascular substructures on radiotherapy planning CT images: Dosimetric validation and reader study based clinical acceptability testing.



This model can be used to contour the heart, cardiac chambers, and great vessels in large datasets of RT planning thoracic CT images accurately, quickly, and consistently. Additionally, the model can be used as a time-saving tool for contouring in clinic practice.


Large radiotherapy (RT) planning imaging datasets with consistently contoured cardiovascular structures are essential for robust cardiac radiotoxicity research in thoracic cancers. This study aims to develop and validate a highly accurate automatic contouring model for the heart, cardiac chambers, and great vessels for RT planning computed tomography (CT) images that can be used for dose-volume parameter estimation.


A neural network model was trained using a dataset of 127 expertly contoured planning CT images from RT treatment of locally advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. Evaluation of geometric accuracy and quality of dosimetric parameter estimation was performed on 50 independent scans with contrast and without contrast enhancement. The model was further evaluated regarding the clinical acceptability of the contours in 99 scans randomly sampled from the RTOG-0617 dataset by three experienced radiation oncologists.


Median surface dice at 3 mm tolerance for all dedicated thoracic structures was 90% in the test set. Median absolute difference between mean dose computed with model contours and expert contours was 0.45 Gy averaged over all structures. The mean clinical acceptability rate by majority vote in the RTOG-0617 scans was 91%.

More about this publication

Radiotherapy and oncology : journal of the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology
  • Volume 165
  • Pages 52-59
  • Publication date 01-12-2021

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