Journal Club Radiation Oncology

Developing Contouring Guidelines: Methodologies and Temporal Trends

For our July #radonc #jc we will be discussing one of the very practical aspects of radiation therapy – contouring guidelines.  Patient outcomes are dependent on radiation therapy plan of which delineation of tumor as well as organs-at-risk are an important aspect.

The last two decades have seen an increase in contouring guidelines especially for complicated sites and techniques in an attempt to standardize delineation and provide the clinician with a standard framework. Decreased variation in contour delineation is also linked to a more accurate assessment of the quality of radiation plan that can in turn have a significant impact on patient outcomes.

This coming weekend, we will review a systematic analysis of the frequency, methodology and delivery of consensus recommendations based on the recently reported study:

Lin D, Lapen K, Sherer MV, et al. A Systematic Review of Contouring Guidelines in Radiation Oncology: Analysis of Frequency, Methodology, and Delivery of Consensus Recommendations. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2020;107(4):827-835. doi:10.1016/j.ijrobp.20

This article will be temporarily Free Access for Medical Education from July 16-20th. Thanks to  International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics (IJROBP) for making it possible!


Dr. Erin Gillespie, radiation oncologist from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, will join us this weekend to discuss her systematic review, including the live hour from 1 to 2pm Central Standard Time (CST) on Sunday, July 19th, 2020. The asynchronous chat will start at 8AM CST on Saturday, July 18th to facilitate global participation. 

We will focus on the following topics:

T1: What is the rationale for reviewing the temporal trends and methodologies to develop and distribute contouring guidelines? 

T2: Describe theinclusion criterial for article selection? Realizing the temporal increase in publications related to contouring guidelines, describe interesting trends based on techniques, disease sites, target versus OAR delineation, scan type, endorsement by professional organizations, number of panelists and multidisciplinary input?

T3: Describe the frequency and characteristics of guidelines developed specifically to ensure the quality of a clinical trial? Describe the methods used for consensus process and the characteristics of presentation of recommendations?

T4: What are the benefits of contouring guidelines and associated challenges? How can we overcome these challenges?

T5: What factors should we consider in order to improve the quality of contouring guidelines? What are the limitations of this review? What trends do you anticipate in the future?

Here are guidelines on how to sign up and participate

  • Read our disclaimer for ways to keep it rewarding and professional. If you’re not ready, just lurk and tune into the conversation.
  • Feel free to add the respective diseases site tags to your tweets to share with the appropriate cancer community on twitter. Just don’t forget the #radonc #jc tags!

Any suggestions? Leave a comment or tweet us at @Rad_Nation. Looking forward to seeing everyone this weekend!

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