Deep-learning assisted automatic digitization of interstitial needles in 3D CT image based high dose-rate brachytherapy of gynecological cancer

Hyunuk Jung, Chenyang Shen, Yesenia Gonzalez, Kevin Albuquerque, Xun Jia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Digitization of interstitial needles is a complicated and tedious process for the treatment planning of 3D CT image based interstitial high dose-rate brachytherapy (HDRBT) of gynecological cancer. We developed a deep-learning assisted auto-digitization method for interstitial needles. The digitization method consisted of two steps. The first step used a deep neural network with a U-net structure to segment all needles from CT images. The second step simultaneously clustered the segmented voxels into different needle groups and generated the needle central trajectories by solving an optimization problem. We evaluated the effectiveness of the developed method in ten interstitial HDRBT patient cases that were not used in the training of the U-net. Average number of needles per case was 20.7. For the segmentation step, average Dice similarity coefficient between automatic and manual segmentation was 0.93. For the digitization step, Hausdorff distance between needle trajectories determined by our method and manually by qualified medical physicists was ∼0.71 mm on average and mean difference of tip positions was ∼0.63 mm, which were considered acceptable for HDRBT treatment planning. It took ∼5 min to complete the digitization process of an interstitial HDRBT case. The achieved accuracy and efficiency made our method clinically attractive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number215003
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Oct 23 2019



  • applicator digitization
  • deep learning
  • high dose rate
  • interstitial needle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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