Machine learning and modeling: Data, validation, communication challenges

Issam El Naqa, Dan Ruan, Gilmer Valdes, Andre Dekker, Todd McNutt, Yaorong Ge, Q. Jackie Wu, Jung Hun Oh, Maria Thor, Wade Smith, Arvind Rao, Clifton Fuller, Ying Xiao, Frank Manion, Matthew Schipper, Charles Mayo, Jean M. Moran, Randall Ten Haken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


With the era of big data, the utilization of machine learning algorithms in radiation oncology is rapidly growing with applications including: treatment response modeling, treatment planning, contouring, organ segmentation, image-guidance, motion tracking, quality assurance, and more. Despite this interest, practical clinical implementation of machine learning as part of the day-to-day clinical operations is still lagging. The aim of this white paper is to further promote progress in this new field of machine learning in radiation oncology by highlighting its untapped advantages and potentials for clinical advancement, while also presenting current challenges and open questions for future research. The targeted audience of this paper includes newcomers as well as practitioners in the field of medical physics/radiation oncology. The paper also provides general recommendations to avoid common pitfalls when applying these powerful data analytic tools to medical physics and radiation oncology problems and suggests some guidelines for transparent and informative reporting of machine learning results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e834-e840
JournalMedical physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • big data
  • machine learning
  • radiation oncology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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