Inter-observer variation of hippocampus delineation in hippocampal avoidance prophylactic cranial irradiation

F. Bartel, M. van Herk, H. Vrenken, F. Vandaele, S. Sunaert, K. de Jaeger, N.J. Dollekamp, C. Carbaat, E. Lamers, E.M.T. Dieleman, Y. Lievens, D. de Ruysscher, S.B. Schagen, M.B. de Ruiter, J.C. de Munck, J. Belderbos

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Hippocampal avoidance prophylactic cranial irradiation (HA-PCI) techniques have been developed to reduce radiation damage to the hippocampus. An inter-observer hippocampus delineation analysis was performed and the influence of the delineation variability on dose to the hippocampus was studied.

Materials and methods

For five patients, seven observers delineated both hippocampi on brain MRI. The intra-class correlation (ICC) with absolute agreement and the generalized conformity index (CIgen) were computed. Median surfaces over all observers’ delineations were created for each patient and regional outlining differences were analysed. HA-PCI dose plans were made from the median surfaces and we investigated whether dose constraints in the hippocampus could be met for all delineations.


The ICC for the left and right hippocampus was 0.56 and 0.69, respectively, while the CIgen ranged from 0.55 to 0.70. The posterior and anterior-medial hippocampal regions had most variation with SDs ranging from approximately 1 to 2.5 mm. The mean dose (Dmean) constraint was met for all delineations, but for the dose received by 1% of the hippocampal volume (D1%) violations were observed.


The relatively low ICC and CIgen indicate that delineation variability among observers for both left and right hippocampus was large. The posterior and anterior-medial border have the largest delineation inaccuracy. The hippocampus Dmean constraint was not violated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-186
Number of pages9
JournalClinical & translational oncology
Issue number2
Early online date6 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2019


  • HA-PCI
  • Hippocampus delineation
  • Inter-observer variation
  • SCLC

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