Standardising Breast Radiotherapy Structure Naming Conventions: A Machine Learning Approach

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In progressing the use of big data in health systems, standardised nomenclature is required to enable data pooling and analyses. In many radiotherapy planning systems and their data archives, target volumes (TV) and organ-at-risk (OAR) structure nomenclature has not been standardised. Machine learning (ML) has been utilised to standardise volumes nomenclature in retrospective datasets. However, only subsets of the structures have been targeted. Within this paper, we proposed a new approach for standardising all the structures nomenclature by using multi-modal artificial neural networks. A cohort consisting of 1613 breast cancer patients treated with radiotherapy was identified from Liverpool & Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centres, NSW, Australia. Four types of volume characteristics were generated to represent each target and OAR volume: textual features, geometric features, dosimetry features, and imaging data. Five datasets were created from the original cohort, the first four represented different subsets of volumes and the last one represented the whole list of volumes. For each dataset, 15 sets of combinations of features were generated to investigate the effect of using different characteristics on the standardisation performance. The best model reported 99.416% classification accuracy over the hold-out sample when used to standardise all the nomenclatures in a breast cancer radiotherapy plan into 21 classes. Our results showed that ML based automation methods can be used for standardising naming conventions in a radiotherapy plan taking into consideration the inclusion of multiple modalities to better represent each volume.

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Funding Number

NSW 2170

Funding Sponsor

Western Sydney Local Health District



Link to publisher version (DOI)