Tumor volume measurement error using computed tomography imaging in a phase II clinical trial in lung cancer

J Med Imaging (Bellingham). 2016 Jul;3(3):035505. doi: 10.1117/1.JMI.3.3.035505. Epub 2016 Sep 20.


To address the error introduced by computed tomography (CT) scanners when assessing volume and unidimensional measurement of solid tumors, we scanned a precision manufactured pocket phantom simultaneously with patients enrolled in a lung cancer clinical trial. Dedicated software quantified bias and random error in the [Formula: see text], and [Formula: see text] dimensions of a Teflon sphere and also quantified response evaluation criteria in solid tumors and volume measurements using both constant and adaptive thresholding. We found that underestimation bias was essentially the same for [Formula: see text], and [Formula: see text] dimensions using constant thresholding and had similar values for adaptive thresholding. The random error of these length measurements as measured by the standard deviation and coefficient of variation was 0.10 mm (0.65), 0.11 mm (0.71), and 0.59 mm (3.75) for constant thresholding and 0.08 mm (0.51), 0.09 mm (0.56), and 0.58 mm (3.68) for adaptive thresholding, respectively. For random error, however, [Formula: see text] lengths had at least a fivefold higher standard deviation and coefficient of variation than [Formula: see text] and [Formula: see text]. Observed [Formula: see text]-dimension error was especially high for some 8 and 16 slice CT models. Error in CT image formation, in particular, for models with low numbers of detector rows, may be large enough to be misinterpreted as representing either treatment response or disease progression.

Keywords: calibration; computed tomography; measurement error; response evaluation criteria in solid tumors; volumetry.