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In NeuroImage. Clinical

Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a rare opportunistic brain infection caused by the JC virus and associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. Accurate MRI assessment of PML lesion burden and brain parenchymal atrophy is of decisive value in monitoring the disease course and response to therapy. However, there are currently no validated automatic methods for quantification of PML lesion burden or associated parenchymal volume loss. Furthermore, manual brain or lesion delineations can be tedious, require the use of valuable time resources by radiologists or trained experts, and are often subjective. In this work, we introduce JCnet (named after the causative viral agent), an end-to-end, fully automated method for brain parenchymal and lesion segmentation in PML using consecutive 3D patch-based convolutional neural networks. The network architecture consists of multi-view feature pyramid networks with hierarchical residual learning blocks containing embedded batch normalization and nonlinear activation functions. The feature maps across the bottom-up and top-down pathways of the feature pyramids are merged, and an output probability membership generated through convolutional pathways, thus rendering the method fully convolutional. Our results show that this approach outperforms and improves longitudinal consistency compared to conventional, state-of-the-art methods of healthy brain and multiple sclerosis lesion segmentation, utilized here as comparators given the lack of available methods validated for use in PML. The ability to produce robust and accurate automated measures of brain atrophy and lesion segmentation in PML is not only valuable clinically but holds promise toward including standardized quantitative MRI measures in clinical trials of targeted therapies. Code is available at:

Al-Louzi Omar, Roy Snehashis, Osuorah Ikesinachi, Parvathaneni Prasanna, Smith Bryan R, Ohayon Joan, Sati Pascal, Pham Dzung L, Jacobson Steven, Nath Avindra, Reich Daniel S, Cortese Irene


Brain parenchymal fraction, Convolutional neural networks, Deep learning, Lesion segmentation, Magnetic resonance imaging, Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy