Objective assessment of image quality VI: Imaging in radiation therapy

Harrison H. Barrett, Matthew A. Kupinski, Stefan Müeller, Howard J. Halpern, John C. Morris, Roisin Dwyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Earlier work on objective assessment of image quality (OAIQ) focused largely on estimation or classification tasks in which the desired outcome of imaging is accurate diagnosis. This paper develops a general framework for assessing imaging quality on the basis of therapeutic outcomes rather than diagnostic performance. By analogy to receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves and their variants as used in diagnostic OAIQ, the method proposed here utilizes the therapy operating characteristic or TOC curves, which are plots of the probability of tumor control versus the probability of normal-tissue complications as the overall dose level of a radiotherapy treatment is varied. The proposed figure of merit is the area under the TOC curve, denoted AUTOC. This paper reviews an earlier exposition of the theory of TOC and AUTOC, which was specific to the assessment of image-segmentation algorithms, and extends it to other applications of imaging in external-beam radiation treatment as well as in treatment with internal radioactive sources. For each application, a methodology for computing the TOC is presented. A key difference between ROC and TOC is that the latter can be defined for a single patient rather than a population of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8197-8213
Number of pages17
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 21 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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