Segmentation of positron emission tomography images: some recommendations for target delineation in radiation oncology

Radiother Oncol. 2010 Sep;96(3):302-7. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2010.07.003. Epub 2010 Aug 11.


Positron emission tomography can be used in radiation oncology for the delineation of target volumes in the treatment planning stage. Numerous publications deal with this topic and the scientific community has investigated many methodologies, ranging from simple uptake thresholding to very elaborate probabilistic models. Nevertheless, no consensus seems to emerge. This paper reviews delineation techniques that are popular in the literature. Special attention is paid to threshold-based techniques and the caveats of this methodology are pointed out by formal analysis. Next, a simple model of positron emission tomography is suggested in order to shed some light on the difficulties of target delineation and how they might be eventually overcome. Validation aspects are considered as well. Finally, a few recommendations are gathered in the conclusion.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*