Open Access Research

Impact of 18F-FDG PET/CT on target volume delineation in recurrent or residual gynaecologic carcinoma

Hansjörg Vees1*, Nathalie Casanova1, Thomas Zilli1, Hestia Imperiano2, Osman Ratib2, Youri Popowski1, Hui Wang1, Habib Zaidi2 and Raymond Miralbell1

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Radiation Oncology, Geneva University Hospital, Geneva 14 CH-1211, Switzerland

2 Division of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, Geneva University Hospital, Geneva, 1211, Switzerland

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Radiation Oncology 2012, 7:176  doi:10.1186/1748-717X-7-176

Published: 22 October 2012



To evaluate the impact of 18F-FDG PET/CT on target volume delineation in gynaecological cancer.


F-FDG PET/CT based RT treatment planning was performed in 10 patients with locally recurrent (n = 5) or post-surgical residual gynaecological cancer (n = 5). The gross tumor volume (GTV) was defined by 4 experienced radiation oncologists first using contrast enhanced CT (GTVCT) and secondly using the fused 18F-FDG PET/CT datasets (GTVPET/CT). In addition, the GTV was delineated using the signal-to-background (SBR) ratio-based adaptive thresholding technique (GTVSBR). Overlap analysis were conducted to assess geographic mismatches between the GTVs delineated using the different techniques. Inter- and intra-observer variability were also assessed.


The mean GTVCT (43.65 cm3) was larger than the mean GTVPET/CT (33.06 cm3), p = 0.02. In 6 patients, GTVPET/CT added substantial tumor extension outside the GTVCT even though 90.4% of the GTVPET/CT was included in the GTVCT and 30.2% of the GTVCT was found outside the GTVPET/CT. The inter- and intra-observer variability was not significantly reduced with the inclusion of 18F-FDG PET imaging (p = 0.23 and p = 0.18, respectively). The GTVSBR was smaller than GTVCT p ≤ 0.005 and GTVPET/CT p ≤ 0.005.


The use of 18F-FDG PET/CT images for target volume delineation of recurrent or post-surgical residual gynaecological cancer alters the GTV in the majority of patients compared to standard CT-definition. The use of SBR-based auto-delineation showed significantly smaller GTVs. The use of PET/CT based target volume delineation may improve the accuracy of RT treatment planning in gynaecologic cancer.

Gynaecologic cancer; PET/CT; Radiotherapy; Target volume delineation; Observer variability