Author ORCID Identifier 0000-0002-7360-7212

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Radiation Oncology

First Advisor

Dr. Lulin Yuan

Second Advisor

Dr. Elisabeth Weiss


Delineation of the tumor volume is the initial and fundamental step in the radiotherapy planning process. The current clinical practice of manual delineation is time-consuming and suffers from observer variability. This work seeks to develop an effective automatic framework to produce clinically usable lung tumor segmentations. First, to facilitate the development and validation of our methodology, an expansive database of planning CTs, diagnostic PETs, and manual tumor segmentations was curated, and an image registration and preprocessing pipeline was established. Then a deep learning neural network was constructed and optimized to utilize dual-modality PET and CT images for lung tumor segmentation. The feasibility of incorporating radiomics and other mechanisms such as a tumor volume-based stratification scheme for training/validation/testing were investigated to improve the segmentation performance. The proposed methodology was evaluated both quantitatively with similarity metrics and clinically with physician reviews. In addition, external validation with an independent database was also conducted. Our work addressed some of the major limitations that restricted clinical applicability of the existing approaches and produced automatic segmentations that were consistent with the manually contoured ground truth and were highly clinically-acceptable according to both the quantitative and clinical evaluations. Both novel approaches of implementing a tumor volume-based training/validation/ testing stratification strategy as well as incorporating voxel-wise radiomics feature images were shown to improve the segmentation performance. The results showed that the proposed method was effective and robust, producing automatic lung tumor segmentations that could potentially improve both the quality and consistency of manual tumor delineation.


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