Standardizing naming conventions in radiation oncology

Lakshmi Santanam, Coen Hurkmans, Sasa Mutic, Corine Van Vliet-Vroegindeweij, Scott Brame, William Straube, James Galvin, Prabhakar Tripuraneni, Jeff Michalski, Walter Bosch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Purpose: The aim of this study was to report on the development of a standardized target and organ-at-risk naming convention for use in radiation therapy and to present the nomenclature for structure naming for interinstitutional data sharing, clinical trial repositories, integrated multi-institutional collaborative databases, and quality control centers. This taxonomy should also enable improved plan benchmarking between clinical institutions and vendors and facilitation of automated treatment plan quality control. Materials and Methods: The Advanced Technology Consortium, Washington University in St. Louis, Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, Dutch Radiation Oncology Society, and the Clinical Trials RT QA Harmonization Group collaborated in creating this new naming convention. The International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements guidelines have been used to create standardized nomenclature for target volumes (clinical target volume, internal target volume, planning target volume, etc.), organs at risk, and planning organ-at-risk volumes in radiation therapy. The nomenclature also includes rules for specifying laterality and margins for various structures. The naming rules distinguish tumor and nodal planning target volumes, with correspondence to their respective tumor/nodal clinical target volumes. It also provides rules for basic structure naming, as well as an option for more detailed names. Names of nonstandard structures used mainly for plan optimization or evaluation (rings, islands of dose avoidance, islands where additional dose is needed [dose painting]) are identified separately. Results: In addition to its use in 16 ongoing Radiation Therapy Oncology Group advanced technology clinical trial protocols and several new European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer protocols, a pilot version of this naming convention has been evaluated using patient data sets with varying treatment sites. All structures in these data sets were satisfactorily identified using this nomenclature. Conclusions: Use of standardized naming conventions is important to facilitate comparison of dosimetry across patient datasets. The guidelines presented here will facilitate international acceptance across a wide range of efforts, including groups organizing clinical trials, Radiation Oncology Institute, Dutch Radiation Oncology Society, Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise, Radiation Oncology domain (IHE-RO), and Digital Imaging and Communication in Medicine (DICOM).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1344-1349
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 15 2012


  • Naming conventions
  • Standardizing
  • Structures
  • Target volumes


Dive into the research topics of 'Standardizing naming conventions in radiation oncology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this