Purpose: The aim of this study is to establish the first step toward a novel and highly individualized three-dimensional (3D) dose distribution reconstruction method, based on CT scans and organ delineations of recently treated patients. Specifically, the feasibility of automatically selecting the CT scan of a recently treated childhood cancer patient who is similar to a given historically treated child who suffered from Wilms' tumor is assessed.

Methods: A cohort of 37 recently treated children between 2- and 6-yr old are considered. Five potential notions of ground-truth similarity are proposed, each focusing on different anatomical aspects. These notions are automatically computed from CT scans of the abdomen and 3D organ delineations (liver, spleen, spinal cord, external body contour). The first is based on deformable image registration, the second on the Dice similarity coefficient, the third on the Hausdorff distance, the fourth on pairwise organ distances, and the last is computed by means of the overlap volume histogram. The relationship between typically available features of historically treated patients and the proposed ground-truth notions of similarity is studied by adopting state-of-the-art machine learning techniques, including random forest. Also, the feasibility of automatically selecting the most similar patient is assessed by comparing ground-truth rankings of similarity with predicted rankings.

Results: Similarities (mainly) based on the external abdomen shape and on the pairwise organ distances are highly correlated (Pearson rp ≥ 0.70) and are successfully modeled with random forests based on historically recorded features (pseudo-R2 ≥ 0.69). In contrast, similarities based on the shape of internal organs cannot be modeled. For the similarities that random forest can reliably model, an estimation of feature relevance indicates that abdominal diameters and weight are the most important. Experiments on automatically selecting similar patients lead to coarse, yet quite robust results: the most similar patient is retrieved only 22% of the times, however, the error in worst-case scenarios is limited, with the fourth most similar patient being retrieved.

Conclusions: Results demonstrate that automatically selecting similar patients is feasible when focusing on the shape of the external abdomen and on the position of internal organs. Moreover, whereas the common practice in phantom-based dose reconstruction is to select a representative phantom using age, height, and weight as discriminant factors for any treatment scenario, our analysis on abdominal tumor treatment for children shows that the most relevant features are weight and the anterior-posterior and left-right abdominal diameters.

Deformable image registration, Dose reconstruction, Late adverse effects, Machine learning, Pediatric cancer
Medical Physics
3D dose reconstruction for children with long-term follow-up Toward improved decision making in radiation treatment for children with cancer
Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Virgolin, M, Dijk, van, I.W.E.M, Wiersma, J, Ronckers, C.M, Witteveen, C, Bel, A, … Bosman, P.A.N. (2018). On the feasibility of automatically selecting similar patients in highly individualized radiotherapy dose reconstruction for historic data of pediatric cancer survivors. Medical Physics. doi:10.1002/mp.12802