Recommendations for improved reproducibility of ADC derivation on behalf of the Elekta MRI-linac consortium image analysis working group

Anne L.H. Bisgaard, Rick Keesman, Astrid L.H.M.W. van Lier, Catherine Coolens, Petra J. van Houdt, Alison Tree, Andreas Wetscherek, Paul B. Romesser, Neelam Tyagi, Monica Lo Russo, Jonas Habrich, Danny Vesprini, Angus Z. Lau, Stella Mook, Peter Chung, Linda G.W. Kerkmeijer, Zeno A.R. Gouw, Ebbe L. Lorenzen, Uulke A. van der Heide, Tine SchytteCarsten Brink, Faisal Mahmood

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Background and purpose: The apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), a potential imaging biomarker for radiotherapy response, needs to be reproducible before translation into clinical use. The aim of this study was to evaluate the multi-centre delineation- and calculation-related ADC variation and give recommendations to minimize it. Materials and methods: Nine centres received identical diffusion-weighted and anatomical magnetic resonance images of different cancerous tumours (adrenal gland, pelvic oligo metastasis, pancreas, and prostate). All centres delineated the gross tumour volume (GTV), clinical target volume (CTV), and viable tumour volume (VTV), and calculated ADCs using both their local calculation methods and each of the following calculation conditions: b-values 0–500 vs. 150–500 s/mm 2, region-of-interest (ROI)-based vs. voxel-based calculation, and mean vs. median. ADC variation was assessed using the mean coefficient of variation across delineations (CV D) and calculation methods (CV C). Absolute ADC differences between calculation conditions were evaluated using Friedman's test. Recommendations for ADC calculation were formulated based on observations and discussions within the Elekta MRI-linac consortium image analysis working group. Results: The median (range) CV D and CV C were 0.06 (0.02–0.32) and 0.17 (0.08–0.26), respectively. The ADC estimates differed 18% between b-value sets and 4% between ROI/voxel-based calculation (p-values < 0.01). No significant difference was observed between mean and median (p = 0.64). Aligning calculation conditions between centres reduced CV C to 0.04 (0.01–0.16). CV D was comparable between ROI types. Conclusion: Overall, calculation methods had a larger impact on ADC reproducibility compared to delineation. Based on the results, significant sources of variation were identified, which should be considered when initiating new studies, in particular multi-centre investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109803
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • ADC reproducibility
  • Adaptive radiotheray
  • Apparent diffusion coefficient
  • Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging
  • MRI biomarkers
  • MRI-Linac


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