Magnetic resonance imaging organ at risk delineation for nasopharyngeal radiotherapy: Measuring the effectiveness of an educational intervention

Publication Name

Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences


Introduction: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrates superior soft tissue contrast and is increasingly being used in radiotherapy planning. This study evaluated the impact of an education workshop in minimising inter-observer variation (IOV) for nasopharyngeal organs at risk (OAR) delineation on MRI. Methods: Ten observers delineated 14 OARs on 4 retrospective nasopharyngeal MRI data sets. Standard contouring guidelines were provided pre-workshop. Following an education workshop on MRI OAR delineation, observers blinded to their original contours repeated the 14 OAR delineations. For comparison, reference volumes were delineated by two head and neck radiation oncologists. IOV was evaluated using dice similarity coefficient (DSC), Hausdorff distance (HD) and relative volume. Location of largest deviations was evaluated with centroid values. Observer confidence pre- and post-workshop was also recorded using a 6-point Likert scale. The workshop was deemed beneficial for an OAR if ≥50% of observers mean scores improved in any metric and ≥50% of observers' confidence improved. Results: All OARs had ≥50% of observers improve in at least one metric. Base of tongue, larynx, spinal cord and right temporal lobe were the only OARs achieving a mean DSC score of ≥0.7. Base of tongue, left and right lacrimal glands, larynx, left optic nerve and right parotid gland all exhibited statistically significant HD improvements post-workshop (P < 0.05). Brainstem and left and right temporal lobes all had statistically significant relative volume improvements post-workshop (P < 0.05). Post-workshop observer confidence improvement was observed for all OARs (P < 0.001). Conclusions: The educational workshop reduced IOV and improved observers' confidence when delineating nasopharyngeal OARs on MRI.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access

Funding Sponsor

Western Sydney Local Health District



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