Early Prediction of Acute Xerostomia During Radiation Therapy for Head and Neck Cancer Based on Texture Analysis of Daily CT

Hui Wu, Xiaojian Chen, Xin Yang, Yalan Tao, Yunfei Xia, Xiaowu Deng, Cheng Zheng, Jared Robbins, Christopher Schultz, X. Allen Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: To investigate radiation-induced changes of computed tomography (CT) textures in parotid glands (PG) to predict acute xerostomia during radiotherapy (RT) for head and neck cancer (HNC). Methods and Materials: Daily or fraction kilovoltage CTs acquired using diagnostic CT scanners (eg, in-room CTs) during intensity-modulated RT for 59 HNC patients at 3 institutions were analyzed. The PG contours were generated on selected daily/fraction CTs. A series of histogram-based texture features, including the mean CT number (MCTN) in Hounsfield units, volume, standard deviation, skewness, kurtosis, and entropy for PGs were calculated for each fraction. Correlations between the changes of the texture features, radiation dose, and observed acute xerostomia were analyzed. A classifier model and the incurred CT-based xerostomia score (CTXS) were introduced to predict xerostomia based on combined changes of MCTN and volume of PGs. The t test and Spearman and Pearson correlation tests were used in the analyses. Results: Substantial changes in various CT texture features of PGs were observed during RT delivery. The changes of PG MCTN or volume are not strongly correlated with the observed xerostomia grades if they are considered separately. The CTXS showed a significant correlation to the observed xerostomia grades (r = 0.71, P <.00001). The CTXS-based classifier can predict the xerostomia severity with a success rate ranging from 79% to 98%. The xerostomia severity at the end of treatment can be predicted based on the CTXS determined at the fifth week with a precision and sensitivity of 100%. Conclusion: Significant changes in the CT histogram features of the parotid glands were observed during RT of HNC. A practical method of using the changes of MCTN and volume of PGs is proposed to predict radiation-induced acute xerostomia, which may be used to help design adaptive treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1308-1318
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 15 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research

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