Impact of Peer Review in Reducing Uncertainty in the Definition of the Lung Target Volume Among Trainee Oncologists

S. Mercieca, S. Pan, J. Belderbos, A. Salem, S. Tenant, M. C. Aznar, D. Woolf, G. Radhakrishna, M. van Herk

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Aims: To evaluate the impact of peer review and contouring workshops on reducing uncertainty in target volume delineation for lung cancer radiotherapy. Materials and methods: Data from two lung cancer target volume delineation courses were analysed. In total, 22 trainees in clinical oncology working across different UK centres attended these courses with priori experience in lung cancer radiotherapy. The courses were made up of short presentations and contouring practice sessions. The participants were divided into two groups and asked to first individually delineate (IND) and then individually peer review (IPR) the contours of another participant. The contours were discussed with an expert panel consisting of two consultant clinical oncologists and a consultant radiologist. Contours were analysed quantitatively by measuring the volume and local distance standard deviation (localSD) from the reference expert consensus contour and qualitatively through visual analysis. Feedback from the participants was obtained using a questionnaire. Results: All participants applied minor editing to the contours during IPR, leading to a non-statistically significant reduction in the mean delineated volume (IND = 140.92 cm3, IPR = 125.26 cm3, P = 0.211). The overall interobserver variation was similar, with a localSD of 0.33 cm and 0.38 cm for the IND and IPR, respectively (P = 0.848). Six participants (29%) carried out correct major changes by either including tumour or excluding healthy tissue. One participant (5%) carried out an incorrect edit by excluding parts of the tumour, while another observer failed to identify a major contour error. The participants' level of confidence in target volume delineation increased following the course and identified the discussions with the radiologist and colleagues as the most important highlights of the course. Conclusion: IPR could improve target volume delineation quality among trainee oncologists by identifying most major contour errors. However, errors were also introduced after IPR, suggesting the need to further discuss major changes with a multidisciplinary team.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Oncology
Early online date4 Feb 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Feb 2020


  • Guidelines implementation
  • lung cancer radiotherapy
  • peer review
  • quality assurance
  • target volume definition
  • training


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