Scientific article
Open access

PET-guided delineation of radiation therapy treatment volumes: a survey of image segmentation techniques

Published inEuropean journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, vol. 37, no. 11, p. 2165-2187
  • Open Access - Licence nationale Springer
Publication date2010

Historically, anatomical CT and MR images were used to delineate the gross tumour volumes (GTVs) for radiotherapy treatment planning. The capabilities offered by modern radiation therapy units and the widespread availability of combined PET/CT scanners stimulated the development of biological PET imaging-guided radiation therapy treatment planning with the aim to produce highly conformal radiation dose distribution to the tumour. One of the most difficult issues facing PET-based treatment planning is the accurate delineation of target regions from typical blurred and noisy functional images. The major problems encountered are image segmentation and imperfect system response function. Image segmentation is defined as the process of classifying the voxels of an image into a set of distinct classes. The difficulty in PET image segmentation is compounded by the low spatial resolution and high noise characteristics of PET images. Despite the difficulties and known limitations, several image segmentation approaches have been proposed and used in the clinical setting including thresholding, edge detection, region growing, clustering, stochastic models, deformable models, classifiers and several other approaches. A detailed description of the various approaches proposed in the literature is reviewed. Moreover, we also briefly discuss some important considerations and limitations of the widely used techniques to guide practitioners in the field of radiation oncology. The strategies followed for validation and comparative assessment of various PET segmentation approaches are described. Future opportunities and the current challenges facing the adoption of PET-guided delineation of target volumes and its role in basic and clinical research are also addressed.

  • Animals
  • *Data Collection
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted/*methods
  • Positron-Emission Tomography/*methods
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted/*methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
Citation (ISO format)
ZAIDI, Habib, EL NAQA, Issam. PET-guided delineation of radiation therapy treatment volumes: a survey of image segmentation techniques. In: European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, 2010, vol. 37, n° 11, p. 2165–2187. doi: 10.1007/s00259-010-1423-3
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1619-7070

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