Come Wonk with Me: Digging into C3RO Data

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The Contouring Collaborative for Consensus in Radiation Oncology (C3RO) is picking up steam. We recently reached a checkpoint after our first ~quarter year – sessions on three different body sites – and asked ourselves, how is it going?

Are our goals clear? Will achieving our goals be impactful in a tangible way? Are our methods sound? Are we providing value to the radiation oncologists participating in the program as well as the industry as a whole? Are we squeezing out the goodness of knowledge out of this mysterious fruit? And are we having any fun?

Then we asked our participants a bunch of questions, too, as an electronic survey. Two of the main messages that came out of the survey were these:

[ 1 ]  People really hunger for detailed “How I created by anatomical contours and why” explanations by invited expert panelists. Rather than try to go fast and cover lots of material and many regions of interest, slow down and talk about them, and debate them, in greater detail.

[ 2 ]  People also are interested in the population statistics, the performance of the “wisdom of the crowd,” and how it relates to potentially deriving or vetting gold standards based on consensus calculations.

Well, you spoke, and we listened! So, we are going to start doing two parallel and complementary tracks in terms of podcasts.

The first track will be hosted by radiation oncologists with radiation oncologists as panelists. The main focus here will be the “how” and “why” of experts’ contours, and hopefully some healthy discussion and negotiation of observed differences.

The second track will be led by yours truly, and we’re going to get unabashedly wonky and nerdy about it. I’m going to try to get interested AI vendors, researchers, and other people who deep-think about these things as my panelists. We’ll talk a lot about statistical variation, what we can learn from it, the challenges it poses, and how to potentially tease out great wisdom from the crowd and get to one of the holy grails of modern radiation therapy: building standard datasets against which AI autosegmentation can be measured and potentially validated.

If you are an AI vendor, researcher, or deep-thinking nerd like me, please come join the debate! Contact me (Ben Nelms) at, and let’s see if we can stumble forward (or backward) into a discovery or two.


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