DOI: 10.1186/s40658-018-0230-yPages: 1-17

Impact of 90Y PET gradient-based tumor segmentation on voxel-level dosimetry in liver radioembolization

1. University of Michigan, Department of Radiation Oncology

2. University of Michigan Medical School, Department of Radiology

Correspondence to:
Justin K. Mikell
Tel: 734-936-4325




The purpose was to validate 90Y PET gradient-based tumor segmentation in phantoms and to evaluate the impact of the segmentation method on reported tumor absorbed dose (AD) and biological effective dose (BED) in 90Y microsphere radioembolization (RE) patients. A semi-automated gradient-based method was applied to phantoms and patient tumors on the 90Y PET with the initial bounding volume for gradient detection determined from a registered diagnostic CT or MR; this PET-based segmentation (PS) was compared with radiologist-defined morphologic segmentation (MS) on CT or MRI. AD and BED volume histogram metrics (D90, D70, mean) were calculated using both segmentations and concordance/correlations were investigated. Spatial concordance was assessed using Dice similarity coefficient (DSC) and mean distance to agreement (MDA). PS was repeated to assess intra-observer variability.


In phantoms, PS demonstrated high accuracy in lesion volumes (within 15%), AD metrics (within 11%), high spatial concordance relative to morphologic segmentation (DSC > 0.86 and MDA < 1.5 mm), and low intra-observer variability (DSC > 0.99, MDA < 0.2 mm, AD/BED metrics within 2%). For patients (58 lesions), spatial concordance between PS and MS was degraded compared to in-phantom (average DSC = 0.54, average MDA = 4.8 mm); the average mean tumor AD was 226 ± 153 and 197 ± 138 Gy, respectively for PS and MS. For patient AD metrics, the best Pearson correlation (r) and concordance correlation coefficient (ccc) between segmentation methods was found for mean AD (r = 0.94, ccc = 0.92), but worsened as the metric approached the minimum dose (for D90, r = 0.77, ccc = 0.69); BED metrics exhibited a similar trend. Patient PS showed low intra-observer variability (average DSC = 0.81, average MDA = 2.2 mm, average AD/BED metrics within 3.0%).


90Y PET gradient-based segmentation led to accurate/robust results in phantoms, and showed high concordance with MS for reporting mean tumor AD/BED in patients. However, tumor coverage metrics such as D90 exhibited worse concordance between segmentation methods, highlighting the need to standardize segmentation methods when reporting AD/BED metrics from post-therapy 90Y PET. Estimated differences in reported AD/BED metrics due to segmentation method will be useful for interpreting RE dosimetry results in the literature including tumor response data.

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  • Accepted: Oct 9, 2018
  • Online: Nov 30, 2018

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