Methods 22 consecutive patients with 26 tumours were included. Positron emission tomography/CT scans were acquired for planning of SBRT. Three oncologists and three radiologists independently delineated the gross tumour volume. The interobserver variation was calculated as a mean of multiple SDs of distances to a reference contour, and calculated for the transversal plane (SDtrans) and craniocaudal (CC) direction (SDcc) separately. Concordance indexes and volume deviations were also calculated.
Results Median tumour volume was 13.0 cm3, ranging from 0.3 to 60.4 cm3. The mean SDtrans was 0.15 cm (SD 0.08 cm) and the overall mean SDcc was 0.26 cm (SD 0.15 cm). Tumours with pleural contact had a significantly larger SDtrans than tumours surrounded by lung tissue.
Conclusions The interobserver delineation variation was very small in this systematic cross-sectional analysis, although significantly larger in the CC direction than in the transversal plane, stressing that anisotropic margins should be applied. This study is the first to make a systematic cross-sectional analysis of delineation variation for peripheral lung tumours referred for SBRT, establishing the evidence that interobserver variation is very small for these tumours.