CT assessment of tumour response to treatment: comparison of linear, cross-sectional and volumetric measures of tumour size.
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Changes in cross-sectional area are currently used to assess tumour response to treatment. The aims of this study were to validate a helical CT technique for volume determination using a series of phantoms and to compare tumour responses indicated by one-, two- and three-dimensional measures of tumour size change in patients treated for germ cell cancer or lymphoma. All studies were performed on an IGE HiSpeed Advantage helical CT scanner with an Advantage Windows workstation. Phantom volumes were calculated using volume reconstruction software and compared with reference volumes determined by water displacement. 20 lymph node masses were studied on serial CT scans in 16 patients treated with chemotherapy for germ cell cancer or lymphoma. For each lesion the maximum diameter, maximum cross-sectional area and volume were determined before and after treatment. Tumour response was assessed using the standard World Health Organisation criteria (i.e. changes in cross-sectional area) and the newly proposed unidimensional response evaluation criteria in solid tumour (RECIST). The CT volume measurement error was 1.0-5.1% for regularly shaped phantoms larger than 35 cm3. In the assessment of treatment response there was 90% agreement between one-dimensional (1D) and two-dimensional (2D) measurements and 100% agreement between 2D and three-dimensional (3D) measurements. CT volume measurements are accurate and reproducible, particularly for larger structures. Assessment of tumour response using 1D, 2D and 3D measures had limited influence on the classification of treatment response. However, the impact of CT assessment of tumour response using 1D, 2D and 3D measurements on clinical decisions and patient outcome remains to be determined.
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