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In Frontiers in computational neuroscience

Purpose: Gliomas are the most common primary brain malignancies, with varying degrees of aggressiveness and prognosis. Understanding of tumor biology and intra-tumor heterogeneity is necessary for planning personalized therapy and predicting response to therapy. Accurate tumoral and intra-tumoral segmentation on MRI is the first step toward understanding the tumor biology through computational methods. The purpose of this study was to design a segmentation algorithm and evaluate its performance on pre-treatment brain MRIs obtained from patients with gliomas. Materials and Methods: In this study, we have designed a novel 3D U-Net architecture that segments various radiologically identifiable sub-regions like edema, enhancing tumor, and necrosis. Weighted patch extraction scheme from the tumor border regions is proposed to address the problem of class imbalance between tumor and non-tumorous patches. The architecture consists of a contracting path to capture context and the symmetric expanding path that enables precise localization. The Deep Convolutional Neural Network (DCNN) based architecture is trained on 285 patients, validated on 66 patients and tested on 191 patients with Glioma from Brain Tumor Segmentation (BraTS) 2018 challenge dataset. Three dimensional patches are extracted from multi-channel BraTS training dataset to train 3D U-Net architecture. The efficacy of the proposed approach is also tested on an independent dataset of 40 patients with High Grade Glioma from our tertiary cancer center. Segmentation results are assessed in terms of Dice Score, Sensitivity, Specificity, and Hausdorff 95 distance (ITCN intra-tumoral classification network). Result: Our proposed architecture achieved Dice scores of 0.88, 0.83, and 0.75 for the whole tumor, tumor core and enhancing tumor, respectively, on BraTS validation dataset and 0.85, 0.77, 0.67 on test dataset. The results were similar on the independent patients' dataset from our hospital, achieving Dice scores of 0.92, 0.90, and 0.81 for the whole tumor, tumor core and enhancing tumor, respectively. Conclusion: The results of this study show the potential of patch-based 3D U-Net for the accurate intra-tumor segmentation. From experiments, it is observed that the weighted patch-based segmentation approach gives comparable performance with the pixel-based approach when there is a thin boundary between tumor subparts.

Baid Ujjwal, Talbar Sanjay, Rane Swapnil, Gupta Sudeep, Thakur Meenakshi H, Moiyadi Aliasgar, Sable Nilesh, Akolkar Mayuresh, Mahajan Abhishek


3D U-Net, convolutional neural network, deep learning, glioma, intra-tumor segmentation