Standardizing Normal Tissue Contouring for Radiation Therapy Treatment Planning: An ASTRO Consensus Paper

Jean L. Wright, Sue S. Yom, Musaddiq J. Awan, Samantha Dawes, Benjamin Fischer-Valuck, Randi Kudner, Raymond Mailhot Vega, George Rodrigues

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Purpose: The comprehensive identification and delineation of organs at risk (OARs) are vital to the quality of radiation therapy treatment planning and the safety of treatment delivery. This guidance aims to improve the consistency of ontouring OARs in external beam radiation therapy treatment planning by providing a single standardized resource for information regarding specific OARs to be contoured for each disease site. The guidance is organized in table format as a quality assurance tool for practices and a training resource for residents and other radiation oncology students (see supplementary materials). Methods and Materials: The Task Force formulated recommendations based on clinical practice and consensus. The draft manuscript was peer reviewed by 16 reviewers, the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) legal counsel, and ASTRO's Multidisciplinary Quality Assurance Subcommittee and revised accordingly. The recommendations were posted on the ASTRO website for public comment in June 2018 for a 6-week period. The final document was approved by the ASTRO Board of Directors in August 2018. Results: Standardization improves patient safety, efficiency, and accuracy in radiation oncology treatment. This consensus guidance represents an ASTRO quality initiative to provide recommendations for the standardization of normal tissue contouring that is performed during external beam treatment planning for each anatomic treatment site. Table 1 defines 2 sets of structures for anatomic sites: Those that are recommended in all adult definitive cases and may assist with organ selection for palliative cases, and those that should be considered on a case-by-case basis depending on the specific clinical scenario. Table 2 outlines some of the resources available to define the parameters of general OAR tissue delineation. Conclusions: Using this paper in conjunction with resources that define tissue parameters and published dose constraints will enable practices to develop a consistent approach to normal tissue evaluation and dose documentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-72
Number of pages8
JournalPractical Radiation Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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