Knowledge-based quality control of organ delineations in radiation therapy

Hamidreza Nourzadeh, Cheukkai Hui, Mahmoud Ahmad, Nasrin Sadeghzadehyazdi, William T. Watkins, Sunil W. Dutta, Clayton E. Alonso, Daniel M. Trifiletti, Jeffrey V. Siebers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To reduce the likelihood of errors in organ delineations used for radiotherapy treatment planning, a knowledge-based quality control (KBQC) system, which discriminates between valid and anomalous delineations is developed. Method and Materials: The KBQC is comprised of a group-wise inference system and anomaly detection modules trained using historical priors from 296 locally advanced lung and prostate cancer patient computational tomographies (CTs). The inference system discriminates different organs based on shape, relational, and intensity features. For a given delineated image set, the inference system solves a combinatorial optimization problem that results in an organ group whose relational features follow those of the training set considering the posterior probabilities obtained from support vector machine (SVM), discriminant subspace ensemble (DSE), and artificial neural network (ANN) classifiers. These classifiers are trained on nonrelational features with a 10-fold cross-validation scheme. The anomaly detection module is a bank of ANN autoencoders, each corresponding with an organ, trained on nonrelational features. A heuristic rule detects anomalous organs that exceed predefined organ-specific tolerances for the feature reconstruction error and the classifier's posterior probabilities. Independent data sets with anomalous delineations were used to test the overall performance of the KBQC system. The anomalous delineations were manually manipulated, computer-generated, or propagated based on a transformation obtained by imperfect registrations. Both peer-review–based scoring system and shape similarity coefficient (DSC) were used to label regions of interest (ROIs) as normal or anomalous in two independent test cohorts. Results: The accuracy of the classifiers was (Formula presented.) 99.8%, and the minimum per-class F1-scores were 0.99, 0.99, and 0.98 for SVM, DSE, and ANN, respectively. The group-wise inference system reduced the miss-classification likelihood for the test data set with anomalous delineations compared to each individual classifier and a fused classifier that used the average posterior probability of all classifiers. For 15 independent locally advanced lung patients, the system detected (Formula presented.) 79% of the anomalous ROIs. For 1320 auto-segmented abdominopelvic organs, the anomaly detection system identified anomalous delineations, which also had low Dice similarity coefficient values with respect to manually delineated organs in the training data set. Conclusion: The KBQC system detected anomalous delineations with superior accuracy compared to classification methods that judge only based on posterior probabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1368-1381
Number of pages14
JournalMedical physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • anomaly detection
  • machine learning
  • organs at risk
  • radiation therapy
  • segmentation quality assurance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Knowledge-based quality control of organ delineations in radiation therapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this