Harmonization of practices between radiotherapy centres in the Nord and Pas-de-Calais regions (France): A three-year evaluation.


Academic Radiation Oncology Department, centre Oscar-Lambret, Lille University, 3, rue Combemale, 59020 Lille cedex, France; Centre de recherche en informatique, signal et automatique de Lille (Cristal), CNRS UMR 9189, Cité scientifique, CS 20048, 59651 Villeneuve d'Ascq cedex, France. Electronic address: [Email]


OBJECTIVE : The delineation of volumes of interest can be a source of significant interobserver variability. The purpose of this study was to improve the homogeneity of delineation between oncologist-radiotherapists in the territorial departments of Nord and Pas-de-Calais (France) through discussions of clinical cases and the adoption of common published reference documents.
METHODS : All eleven radiotherapy centres in the Nord and Pas-de-Calais departments of France participated. The localizations assessed to date included prostate, head and neck, breast and brain cancers. For each localization, the junior or senior physician(s) in charge of pathology delineated the volumes of interest according to their usual practices. Validated indices, including the Dice similarity coefficient, were used to quantify the delineation differences. The anonymized results were presented at two to three annual meetings. A second delineation of the clinical cases was then carried out to quantify homogenization. An evaluation of dosimetry practices was also conducted for prostate cancer. Wilcoxon assay matched data were used.
RESULTS : Our work showed either satisfactory delineation concordance after the initial assessment or improved delineation concordance. For prostate cancer, the Dice similarity coefficient values were greater than 0.6 initially in two of the three clinical cases. For head and neck cancers, a statistically significant improvement was observed for only one of the clinical target volumes. More than half of the Dice similarity coefficient values were greater than 0.6 in the first comparison. The study of clinical cases of breast cancer allowed a homogenization of the delineation of five of the six lymph node clinical target volumes. The dosimetry study of prostate cancer allowed for a homogenization of practices.
CONCLUSIONS : This work makes it possible to harmonize the delineation practices around validated standards. An extension to the entire Hauts-de-France region is planned.


Delineation,Délinéation,Interobserver variability,Radiotherapy,Radiothérapie,Variabilité interobservateur,