Abstract Quantitative 3-D volumetric comparisons were made of composite CT-MRI macroscopic and microscopic tumor and target volumes to their independently defined constituents. Volumetric comparisons were also made between volumes derived from coronal and axial MRI data sets, and between CT and MRI volumes redefined at a repeat session in comparison to their original definitions. The degree of 3-D dose coverage obtained from use of CT data only or MRI data only in terms of coverage of composite CT-MRI volumes was also analyzed. On average, MRI defined larger volumes as well as a greater share of composite CT-MRI volumes. On average, increases in block margin on the order of 0.5 cm would have ensured coverage of volumes derived from use of both imaging modalities had only MRI data been used. However, the degree of inter-observer variation in volume definition is on the order of the magnitude of differences in volume definition seen between the modalities, and the question of which imaging modality best describes tumor volumes remains unanswered until detailed histologic studies are performed. Given that tumor volumes independently apparent on CT and MRI have equal validity, composite CT-MRI input should be considered for planning to ensure precise dose coverage for conformal treatments.