Interobserver delineation uncertainty in involved-node radiation therapy (INRT) for early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma: on behalf of the Radiotherapy Committee of the EORTC lymphoma group


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<b>Background and purpose:</b> In early-stage classical Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) the target volume nowadays consists of the volume of the originally involved nodes. Delineation of this volume on a post-chemotherapy CT-scan is challenging. We report on the interobserver variability in target volume definition and its impact on resulting treatment plans. <b>Materials and methods:</b> Two representative cases were selected (1: male, stage IB, localization: left axilla; 2: female, stage IIB, localizations: mediastinum and bilateral neck). Eight experienced observers individually defined the clinical target volume (CTV) using involved-node radiotherapy (INRT) as defined by the EORTC-GELA guidelines for the H10 trial. A consensus contour was generated and the standard deviation computed. We investigated the overlap between observer and consensus contour [Sørensen-Dice coefficient (DSC)] and the magnitude of gross deviations between the surfaces of the observer and consensus contour (Hausdorff distance). 3D-conformal (3D-CRT) and intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) plans were calculated for each contour in order to investigate the impact of interobserver variability on each treatment modality. Similar target coverage was enforced for all plans. <b>Results:</b> The median CTV was 120 cm<sup>3</sup> (IQR: 95–173 cm<sup>3</sup>) for Case 1, and 255 cm<sup>3</sup> (IQR: 183–293 cm<sup>3</sup>) for Case 2. DSC values were generally high (&gt;0.7), and Hausdorff distances were about 30 mm. The SDs between all observer contours, providing an estimate of the systematic error associated with delineation uncertainty, ranged from 1.9 to 3.8 mm (median: 3.2 mm). Variations in mean dose resulting from different observer contours were small and were not higher in IMRT plans than in 3D-CRT plans. <b>Conclusions:</b> We observed considerable differences in target volume delineation, but the systematic delineation uncertainty of around 3 mm is comparable to that reported in other tumour sites. This report is a first step towards calculating an evidence-based planning target volume margin for INRT in HL.
Date made available20 Jan 2017

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