BackgroundTo develop a novel subjective–objective-combined (SOC) grading standard for auto-segmentation for each organ at risk (OAR) in the thorax.MethodsA radiation oncologist manually delineated 13 thoracic OARs from computed tomography (CT) images of 40 patients. OAR auto-segmentation accuracy was graded by five geometric objective indexes, including the Dice similarity coefficient (DSC), the difference of the Euclidean distance between centers of mass (ΔCMD), the difference of volume (ΔV), maximum Hausdorff distance (MHD), and average Hausdorff distance (AHD). The grading results were compared with those of the corresponding geometric indexes obtained by geometric objective methods in the other two centers. OAR auto-segmentation accuracy was also graded by our subjective evaluation standard. These grading results were compared with those of DSC. Based on the subjective evaluation standard and the five geometric indexes, the correspondence between the subjective evaluation level and the geometric index range was established for each OAR.ResultsFor ΔCMD, ΔV, and MHD, the grading results of the geometric objective evaluation methods at our center and the other two centers were inconsistent. For DSC and AHD, the grading results of three centers were consistent. Seven OARs’ grading results in the subjective evaluation standard were inconsistent with those of DSC. Six OARs’ grading results in the subjective evaluation standard were consistent with those of DSC. Finally, we proposed a new evaluation method that combined the subjective evaluation level of those OARs with the range of corresponding DSC to determine the grading standard. If the DSC ranges between the adjacent levels did not overlap, the DSC range was used as the grading standard. Otherwise, the mean value of DSC was used as the grading standard.ConclusionsA novel OAR-specific SOC grading standard in thorax was developed. The SOC grading standard provides a possible alternative for evaluation of the auto-segmentation accuracy for thoracic OARs.