Robust extraction of biological information from diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging during radiotherapy using semi-automatic delineation

Anne Louise Højmark Bisgaard*, Carsten Brink, Maja Lynge Fransen, Tine Schytte, Claus F Behrens, Ivan Richter Vogelius, Henrik Dahl Nissen, Faisal Mahmood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Background and purpose: Diffusion-Weighted Magnetic Resonance imaging (DWI) quantifies water mobility through the Apparent Diffusion Coefficient (ADC), a promising radiotherapy response biomarker. ADC measurements depend on manual delineation of a region of interest, a time-consuming and observer-dependent process. Here, the aim was to introduce and test the performance of a new, semi-automatic delineation tool (SADT) for ADC calculation within the viable region of the tumour. Materials and methods: Thirty patients with rectal cancer were scanned with DWI before radiotherapy (RT) (baseline) and two weeks into RT (week 2). The SADT was based on intensities in b=1100 s mm −2 DWI and derived ADC maps. ADC values measured using the SADT and manual delineations were compared using Bland-Altman- and correlation analyses. Delineations were repeated to assess intra-observer variation, and repeatability was estimated using repeated DWI scans. Results: ADC measured using the SADT and manual delineation showed strong and moderate correlation at baseline and week 2, respectively, with the SADT measuring systematically smaller values. Intra-observer ADC variation was slightly smaller for the SADT compared to manual delineation both at baseline, [−0.00; 0.03] vs. [−0.02; 0.04] 10 −3 mm 2 s −1, and week 2, [−0.01; 0.00] vs. [−0.04; 0.07] 10 −3 mm 2 s −1 (68.3% limits of agreement). The ADC change between baseline and week 2 was larger than the ADC uncertainty (±0.04 · 10 −3 mm 2 s −1) in all cases except one. Conclusion: The presented SADT showed performance comparable to manual expert delineation, and with sufficient consistency to allow extraction of potential biological information from the viable tumour.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysics and Imaging in Radiation Oncology
Volume21
Pages (from-to)146-152
ISSN2405-6316
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Apparent diffusion coefficient
  • Automatic delineation
  • Diffusion-weighted MRI
  • Imaging biomarker
  • MRI guided radiotherapy

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