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In Technology in cancer research & treatment ; h5-index 0.0

Radiotherapy is the main treatment strategy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma. A major factor affecting radiotherapy outcome is the accuracy of target delineation. Target delineation is time-consuming, and the results can vary depending on the experience of the oncologist. Using deep learning methods to automate target delineation may increase its efficiency. We used a modified deep learning model called U-Net to automatically segment and delineate tumor targets in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Patients were randomly divided into a training set (302 patients), validation set (100 patients), and test set (100 patients). The U-Net model was trained using labeled computed tomography images from the training set. The U-Net was able to delineate nasopharyngeal carcinoma tumors with an overall dice similarity coefficient of 65.86% for lymph nodes and 74.00% for primary tumor, with respective Hausdorff distances of 32.10 and 12.85 mm. Delineation accuracy decreased with increasing cancer stage. Automatic delineation took approximately 2.6 hours, compared to 3 hours, using an entirely manual procedure. Deep learning models can therefore improve accuracy, consistency, and efficiency of target delineation in T stage, but additional physician input may be required for lymph nodes.

Li Shihao, Xiao Jianghong, He Ling, Peng Xingchen, Yuan Xuedong

automatic delineation, deep learning, nasopharyngeal cancer