Comparison of arterial versus venous phases enhancement in radiation therapy planning for patients with pancreatic cancer: the PANCRINJ study
Fabien Zaidi, Paul Calame, Cédric Chevalier, Julie Henriques, Dewi Vernerey, Lucine Vuitton, Bruno Heyd, Christophe Borg, Jihane Boustani
Background:The planification of radiation therapy (RT) for pancreatic cancer (PC) requires a dosimetric computed tomography (CT) scan to define the gross tumor volume (GTV). The main objective of this study was to compare the inter-observer variability in RT planning between the arterial and the venous phases following intravenous contrast.
Methods: PANCRINJ was a prospective monocentric study that included twenty patients with non-metastatic PC. Patients underwent a pre-therapeutic CT scan at the arterial and venous phases. The delineation of the GTV was performed by one radiologist (gold standard) and two senior radiation oncologists (operators). The primary objective was to compare the Jaccard conformity index (JCI) for the GTVs computed between the gs and the operators between the arterial and the venous phases with a Wilcoxon signed rank test for paired samples. The secondary endpoints were the geographical miss index (GMI), the kappa index, the intra-operator variability, and the dose-volume histograms between the arterial and venous phases.
Results:The median JCI for the arterial and venous phases were 0.50 (range, 0.17-0.64) and 0.41 (range, 0.23-0.61) (p=0.10) respectively. The median gsGTV was statistically significantly smaller compared to the operators at the arterial (p<0.0001) and venous phases (p<0.001), respectively. The GMI were low with few tumors missed for all patients with a median GMI of 0.07 (range, 0-0.79) and 0.05 (range, 0-0.39) at the arterial and venous phases, respectively (p=0.15). There was a moderate agreement between the radiation oncologists with a median kappa index of 0.52 (range 0.38-0.57) on the arterial phase, and 0.52 (range 0.36-0.57) on the venous phase (p=0.08). The intra-observer variability for GTV delineation was lower at the venous phase than at the arterial phase for the two operators. There was no significant difference between the arterial and the venous phases regarding the dose-volume histogram for the operators.
Conclusions: Our results showed inter- and intra-observer variability in delineating GTV for PC without significant differences between the arterial and the venous phases. The use of both phases should be encouraged. Our findings suggest the need to provide training for radiation oncologists in pancreatic imaging and to collaborate within a multidisciplinary team.