Evaluation of uterine ultrasound imaging in cervical radiotherapy; a comparison of autoscan and conventional probe

Mariwan Baker, David T. Cooper, Claus F. Behrens

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Objective: In cervical radiotherapy, it is essential that the uterine position is correctly determined prior to treatment delivery. The aim of this study was to evaluate an autoscan ultrasound (A-US) probe, a motorized transducer creating three-dimensional (3D) images by sweeping, by comparing it with a conventional ultrasound (C-US) probe, where manual scanning is required to acquire 3D images.
Methods: Nine healthy volunteers were scanned by seven operators, using the Clarity (R) system (Elekta, Stockholm, Sweden). In total, 72 scans, 36 scans from the C-US and 36 scans from the A-US probes, were acquired. Two observers delineated the uterine structure, using the software-assisted segmentation in the Clarity workstation. The data of uterine volume, uterine centre of mass (COM) and maximum uterine lengths, in three orthogonal directions, were analyzed.
Results: In 53% of the C-US scans, the whole uterus was captured, compared with 89% using the A-US. F-test on 36 scans demonstrated statistically significant differences in interobserver COM standard deviation (SD) when comparing the C-US with the A-US probe for the inferior-superior (p <0.006), left-right (p <0.012) and anteroposterior directions (p <0.001). The median of the interobserver COM distance (Euclidean distance for 36 scans) was reduced from 8.5 (C-US) to 6.0mm (A-US). An F-test on the 36 scans showed strong significant differences (p <0.001) in the SD of the Euclidean interobserver distance when comparing the C-US with the A-US scans. The average Dice coefficient when comparing the two observers was 0.67 (C-US) and 0.75 (A-US). The predictive interval demonstrated better interobserver delineation concordance using the A-US probe.
Conclusion: The A-US probe imaging might be a better choice of image-guided radiotherapy system for correcting for daily uterine positional changes in cervical radiotherapy.
Advances in knowledge: Using a novel A-US probe might reduce the uncertainty in interoperator variability during ultrasound scanning.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20160510
JournalBritish Journal of Radiology
Issue number1066
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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