Author(s): Ketting CH, AustinSeymour M, Kalet I, Jacky J, KromhoutSchiro S,
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Abstract PURPOSE: Software tools are seeing increased use in three-dimensional treatment planning. However, the development of these tools frequently omits careful evaluation before placing them in clinical use. This study demonstrates the application of a rigorous evaluation methodology using blinded peer review to an automated software tool that produces ICRU-50 planning target volumes (PTVs). METHODS AND MATERIALS: Seven physicians from three different institutions involved in three-dimensional treatment planning participated in the evaluation. Four physicians drew partial PTVs on nine test cases, consisting of four nasopharynx and five lung primaries. Using the same information provided to the human experts, the computer tool generated PTVs for comparison. The remaining three physicians, designated evaluators, individually reviewed the PTVs for acceptability. To exclude bias, the evaluators were blinded to the source (human or computer) of the PTVs they reviewed. Their scorings of the PTVs were statistically examined to determine if the computer tool performed as well as the human experts. RESULTS: The computer tool was as successful as the human experts in generating PTVs. Failures were primarily attributable to insufficient margins around the clinical target volume and to encroachment upon critical structures. In a qualitative analysis, the human and computer experts displayed similar types and distributions of errors. CONCLUSIONS: Rigorous evaluation of computer-based radiotherapy tools requires comparison to current practice and can reveal areas for improvement before the tool enters clinical practice.
This article was published in Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys
and referenced in International Journal of Biomedical Data Mining