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Clinical lymph node staging - Influence of slice thickness and reconstruction kernel on volumetry and RECIST measurements

: Fabel, M.; Wulff, A.; Heckel, F.; Bornemann, L.; Freitag-Wolf, S.; Heller, M.; Biederer, J.; Bolte, H.


European journal of radiology : EJR 81 (2012), No.11, pp.3124-3130
ISSN: 0720-048X
ISSN: 1872-7727
Journal Article
Fraunhofer MEVIS ()

Therapy response evaluation in oncological patient care requires reproducible and accurate image evaluation. Today, common standard in measurement of tumour growth or shrinkage is one-dimensional RECIST 1.1. A proposed alternative method for therapy monitoring is computer aided volumetric analysis. In lung metastases volumetry proved high reliability and accuracy in experimental studies. High reliability and accuracy of volumetry in lung metastases has been proven. However, other metastatic lesions such as enlarged lymph nodes are far more challenging. The aim of this study was to investigate the reproducibility of semi-automated volumetric analysis of lymph node metastases as a function of both slice thickness and reconstruction kernel. In addition, manual long axis diameters (LAD) as well as short axis diameters (SAD) were compared to automated RECIST measurements.
Materials and methods
Multislice-CT of the chest, abdomen and pelvis of 15 patients with lymph node metastases of malignant melanoma were included. Raw data were reconstructed using different slice thicknesses (1-5 mm) and varying reconstruction kernels (B20f, B40f, B60f). Volume and RECIST measurements were performed for 85 lymph nodes between 10 and 60 mm using Oncology Prototype Software (Fraunhofer MEVIS, Siemens, Germany) and were compared to a defined reference volume and diameter by calculating absolute percentage errors (APE). Variability of the lymph node sizes was computed as relative measurement differences, precision of measurements was computed as relative measurement deviation.
Mean absolute percentage error (APE) for volumetric analysis varied between 3.95% and 13.8% and increased significantly with slice thickness. Differences between reconstruction kernels were not significant, however, a trend towards middle soft tissue kernel could be observed.. Between automated and manual short axis diameter (SAD, RECIST 1.1) and long axis diameter (LAD, RECIST 1.0) no significant differences were found. The most unsatisfactory segmentation results occurred in higher slice thickness (3 and 5 mm) and sharp tissue kernel.
Volumetric analysis of lymph nodes works satisfying in a clinical setting. Thin slice reconstructions (?3 mm) and a middle soft tissue reconstruction kernel are recommended. LAD and SAD did not show significant differences regarding APE. Automated RECIST measurement showed lower APE than manual measurement in trend.