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In Quantitative imaging in medicine and surgery

Background : Image segmentation of brain low-grade glioma (LGG) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contributes tremendously to diagnosis, classification and treatment of the disease. A tangible, accurate, reliable and fast image segmentation technique is demanded in clinical diagnosis and research.

Methods : The emerging machine learning technique has been demonstrated its unique capability in the field of medical image processing, including medical image segmentation. Support vector machine (SVM) and convolutional neural network (CNN) are two widely used machine learning methods. In this work, image segmentation tools based on SVM and CNN are developed and evaluated for brain LGG MR image segmentation studies. The segmentation performance in terms of accuracy and cost is quantitatively analyzed and compared between the SVM and CNN techniques developed.

Results : Computed on the Google CoLab, each of the 109 SVM models represents an individual patient, is trained using a single image of that patient and takes a few seconds to complete. The CNN model is trained on a drastically larger dataset of 19,760 data augmented images and takes approximately 2 hours to obtain the most optimal result. The SVM models achieved an average and median accuracy of 0.937 and 0.976 respectively, precision of 0.456 and 0.535 respectively, recall of 0.878 and 0.906 respectively, and F1 score of 0.546 and 0.662 respectively. Although the CNN model required a significantly longer calculation time, it surpassed the SVM models in performance in LGG MR image segmentation, achieving an accuracy of 0.998, a precision of 0.999, a recall of 0.999 and an F1 score of 0.999.

Conclusions : This study shows that SVM with appropriate filtering techniques is capable of obtaining reliable and fast segmentation of brain LGG MR images with sufficient accuracy and limited image data. CNN technique outperforms SVM in the accuracy of segmentation with requirements of significantly enlarged data set, long computation time and high-performance computer.

Yang Qifan, Zhang Huijuan, Xia Jun, Zhang Xiaoliang


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), convolutional neural network (CNN), image segmentation, low-grade glioma (LGG), machine learning, support vector machine (SVM)