Quantitative imaging: Correlating image features with the segmentation accuracy of PET based tumor contours in the lung

Perry Johnson, Lori A. Young, Narottam Lamichhane, Vivek Patel, Felix M. Chinea, Fei Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to investigate the correlation between image features extracted from PET images and the accuracy of manually drawn lesion contours in the lung. Such correlations are interesting in that they could potentially be used in predictive models to help guide physician contouring. In this work, 26 synthetic PET datasets were created using an anthropomorphic phantom and Monte Carlo simulation. Manual contours of simulated lesions were provided by 10 physicians. Contour accuracy was quantified using five commonly used similarity metrics which were then correlated with several features extracted from the images. Features were sub-divided into three groups using intensity, geometry, and texture as categorical descriptors. When averaged among the participants, the results showed relatively strong correlations with complexity and contrastI (r ≥ 0.65, p < 0.001), and moderate correlations with several other image features (r ≥ 0.5, p < 0.01). The predictive nature of these correlations was improved through stepwise regression and the creation of multi-feature models. Imaging features were also correlated with the standard deviation of contouring error in order to investigate inter-observer variability. Several features were consistently identified as influential including integral of mean curvature and complexity. These relationships further the understanding as to what causes variation in the contouring of PET positive lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-262
Number of pages6
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • Image texture
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Quantitative imaging
  • Target delineation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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