Automatic re-contouring in 4D radiotherapy

Weiguo Lu, Gustavo H. Olivera, Quan Chen, Ming Li Chen, Kenneth J. Ruchala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Delineating regions of interest (ROIs) on each phase of four-dimensional (4D) computed tomography (CT) images is an essential step for 4D radiotherapy. The requirement of manual phase-by-phase contouring prohibits the routine use of 4D radiotherapy. This paper develops an automatic re-contouring algorithm that combines techniques of deformable registration and surface construction. ROIs are manually contoured slice-by-slice in the reference phase image. A reference surface is constructed based on these reference contours using a triangulated surface construction technique. The deformable registration technique provides the voxel-to-voxel mapping between the reference phase and the test phase. The vertices of the reference surface are displaced in accordance with the deformation map, resulting in a deformed surface. The new contours are reconstructed by cutting the deformed surface slice-by-slice along the transversal, sagittal or coronal direction. Since both the inputs and outputs of our automatic re-contouring algorithm are contours, it is relatively easy to cope with any treatment planning system. We tested our automatic re-contouring algorithm using a deformable phantom and 4D CT images of six lung cancer patients. The proposed algorithm is validated by visual inspections and quantitative comparisons of the automatic re-contours with both the gold standard segmentations and the manual contours. Based on the automatic delineated ROIs, changes of tumour and sensitive structures during respiration are quantitatively analysed. This algorithm could also be used to re-contour daily images for treatment evaluation and adaptive radiotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1077-1099
Number of pages23
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 7 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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