The impact of 2D versus 3D quantitation of tumor bulk determination on current methods of assessing response to treatment

Kenneth D. Hopper, Claudia J. Kasales, Kathleen D. Eggli, Thomas R. TenHave, Neil M. Belman, Paul S. Potok, Mark A. Van Slyke, George J. Olt, Pamelyn Close, Allan Lipton, Harold A. Harvey, Jonathan S. Hartzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Purpose: Measurements from sequential axial '2D' data in cancer patients are commonly used to assess treatment response or disease progression. This study compares the volume of tumor bulk calculated with 3D reconstructions with that calculated by conventional methods to determine if it might change patient classification. Method: All medical, gynecologic, and pediatric oncology patients under treatment who were evaluated with serial CT scans between January 1, 1992, and July 31, 1994, for whom the digital data were available were included in this study. For each tumor site, the maximum diameter and its perpendicular were measured and multiplied together to yield an area. The sum of areas of the measured lesions was used as an approximation of overall 2D tumor volume. In addition, the 2D area of each site was multiplied by its height, yielding a 2D volume. Last, the digital data were loaded into a 3D computer system and total 3D tumor volumes determined. All medical and gynecologic oncology patients were treated based upon the 2D area of tumor. The pediatric oncology patients were treated based upon the 2D volume of tumor measured as per standard practice. The members of each treating oncologic service assessed their patients as to how the other two methods would have changed their classification of the patients' response category. Results: Four hundred thirty-three CT scans were performed in 139 patients, which included 204 baseline and 294 follow-up CT examinations. Seventy patients had new tumor loci and would have been classified as failure by all three methods of tumor bulk measurement. The 3D volume versus the 2D area method of tumor bulk assessment would have changed response categories in 52 of the 294 follow-up CT examinations (p < 0.0001). Thirty-five patients were recategorized from either 'no response' to 'failure' (21 patients) or 'no response' to 'response' (14 patients) categories. If only those follow- up studies without new metastatic loci are considered, the 3D volume versus the 2D area methods of tumor assessment would have changed the treatment response category in 23.2%. The use of the 2D volume method of calculating tumor volume of bulk tended to overestimate the overall tumor size by an average of 244 cm3 (p = 0.001). Conclusion: The 3D method of tumor volume measurement differs significantly from conventional 2D methods of tumor volume determination. Large prospective studies analyzing the usefulness of 3D tumor volume measurements and assessing possible changes in patient response categories would be required for full utilization of this more accurate method of following disease bulk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)930-937
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Computer Assisted Tomography
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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