TH-CD-206-05: Machine-Learning Based Segmentation of Organs at Risks for Head and Neck Radiotherapy Planning




Accurate and efficient delineation of tumor target and organs-at-risks is essential for the success of radiotherapy. In reality, despite of decades of intense research efforts, auto-segmentation has not yet become clinical practice. In this study, we present, for the first time, a deep learning-based classification algorithm for autonomous segmentation in head and neck (HaN) treatment planning.


Fifteen HN datasets of CT, MR and PET images with manual annotation of organs-at-risk (OARs) including spinal cord, brainstem, optic nerves, chiasm, eyes, mandible, tongue, parotid glands were collected and saved in a library of plans. We also have ten super-resolution MR images of the tongue area, where the genioglossus and inferior longitudinalis tongue muscles are defined as organs of interest. We applied the concepts of random forest- and deep learning-based object classification for automated image annotation with the aim of using machine learning to facilitate head and neck radiotherapy planning process. In this new paradigm of segmentation, random forests were used for landmark-assisted segmentation of super-resolution MR images. Alternatively to auto-segmentation with random forest-based landmark detection, deep convolutional neural networks were developed for voxel-wise segmentation of OARs in single and multi-modal images. The network consisted of three pairs of convolution and pooing layer, one RuLU layer and a softmax layer.


We present a comprehensive study on using machine learning concepts for auto-segmentation of OARs and tongue muscles for the HaN radiotherapy planning. An accuracy of 81.8% in terms of Dice coefficient was achieved for segmentation of genioglossus and inferior longitudinalis tongue muscles. Preliminary results of OARs regimentation also indicate that deep-learning afforded an unprecedented opportunities to improve the accuracy and robustness of radiotherapy planning.


A novel machine learning framework has been developed for image annotation and structure segmentation. Our results indicate the great potential of deep learning in radiotherapy treatment planning.