Deep-learning–assisted automatic digitization of applicators in 3D CT image-based high-dose-rate brachytherapy of gynecological cancer

Hyunuk Jung, Yesenia Gonzalez, Chenyang Shen, Peter Klages, Kevin Albuquerque, Xun Jia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose: Applicator digitization is one of the most critical steps in 3D high-dose-rate brachytherapy (HDRBT) treatment planning. Motivated by recent advances in deep-learning, we propose a deep-learning–assisted applicator digitization method for 3D CT image-based HDRBT. This study demonstrates its feasibility and potential in gynecological cancer HDRBT. Methods and Materials: Our method consisted of two steps. The first step used a U-net to segment applicator regions. We trained the U-net using two-dimensional CT images with a tandem-and-ovoid (T&O) applicator and corresponding applicator mask images. The second step applied a spectral clustering method and a polynomial curve fitting method to extract applicator central paths. We evaluated the accuracy, efficiency, and robustness of our method in different scenarios including other T&O cases that were not used in training, a T&O case scanned with cone-beam CT, and Y-tandem and cylinder-applicator cases. Results: In test cases with a T&O applicator, average 3D Dice similarity coefficient between automatic and manual segmented applicator regions was 0.93. Average distance between tip positions and average Hausdorff distance between applicator channels determined by our method and manually were 0.64 mm and 0.68 mm, respectively. Although trained only using CT images of T&O cases, our tool can also digitize Y-tandem, cylinder applicator, and T&O applicator scanned in cone-beam CT with error of tip position and Hausdorff distance <1 mm. Computation time was ∼15 s per case. Conclusions: We have developed a deep-learning–assisted applicator digitization tool for 3D CT image–based HDRBT of gynecological cancer. The achieved accuracy, efficiency, and robustness made our tool clinically attractive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)841-851
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • Applicator digitization
  • Deep-learning
  • High-dose-rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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