A Prostate Fossa Contouring Instructional Module: Implementation and Evaluation

J Am Coll Radiol. 2016 Jul;13(7):835-841.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2016.02.030. Epub 2016 May 18.


Purpose/objective: Radiation oncology trainees frequently learn to contour through clinical experience and lectures. A hands-on contouring module was developed to teach delineation of the postoperative prostate clinical target volume (CTV) and improve contouring accuracy.

Methods: Medical students independently contoured a prostate fossa CTV before and after receiving educational materials and live instruction detailing the RTOG approach to contouring this CTV. Metrics for volume overlap and surface distance (Dice similarity coefficient, Hausdorff distance (HD), and mean distance) determined discordance between student and consensus contours. An evaluation assessed perception of session efficacy (1 = "not at all" to 5 = "extremely"; reported as median[interquartile range]). Non-parametric statistical tests were used.

Results: Twenty-four students at two institutions completed the module, and 21 completed the evaluation (88% response). The content was rated as "quite" important (4[3.5-5]). The module improved comfort contouring a prostate fossa (pre 1[1-2] vs. post 4[3-4], p<.01), ability to find references (pre 2[1-3] vs. post 4[3.5-4], p<0.01), knowledge of CT prostate/pelvis anatomy (pre 2[1.5-3] vs. post 3[3-4], p<.01), and ability to use contouring software tools (pre 2[2-3.5] vs. post 3[3-4], p=.01). After intervention, mean DSC increased (0.29 to 0.68, p<0.01) and HD and mean distance both decreased, respectively (42.8 to 30.0, p<.01; 11.5 to 1.9, p<.01).

Conclusions: A hands-on module to teach CTV delineation to medical students was developed and implemented. Student and expert contours exhibited near "excellent agreement" (as defined in the literature) after intervention. Additional modules to teach target delineation to all educational levels can be developed using this model.

Keywords: Medical education; contouring; prostate fossa; radiation oncology.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Curriculum*
  • Educational Measurement / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radiation Oncology / education*
  • Radiotherapy, Image-Guided / statistics & numerical data*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Students, Medical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Texas
  • Young Adult