Dual-Teacher++: Exploiting Intra-domain and Inter-domain Knowledge with Reliable Transfer for Cardiac Segmentation

by   Kang Li, et al.

Annotation scarcity is a long-standing problem in medical image analysis area. To efficiently leverage limited annotations, abundant unlabeled data are additionally exploited in semi-supervised learning, while well-established cross-modality data are investigated in domain adaptation. In this paper, we aim to explore the feasibility of concurrently leveraging both unlabeled data and cross-modality data for annotation-efficient cardiac segmentation. To this end, we propose a cutting-edge semi-supervised domain adaptation framework, namely Dual-Teacher++. Besides directly learning from limited labeled target domain data (e.g., CT) via a student model adopted by previous literature, we design novel dual teacher models, including an inter-domain teacher model to explore cross-modality priors from source domain (e.g., MR) and an intra-domain teacher model to investigate the knowledge beneath unlabeled target domain. In this way, the dual teacher models would transfer acquired inter- and intra-domain knowledge to the student model for further integration and exploitation. Moreover, to encourage reliable dual-domain knowledge transfer, we enhance the inter-domain knowledge transfer on the samples with higher similarity to target domain after appearance alignment, and also strengthen intra-domain knowledge transfer of unlabeled target data with higher prediction confidence. In this way, the student model can obtain reliable dual-domain knowledge and yield improved performance on target domain data. We extensively evaluated the feasibility of our method on the MM-WHS 2017 challenge dataset. The experiments have demonstrated the superiority of our framework over other semi-supervised learning and domain adaptation methods. Moreover, our performance gains could be yielded in bidirections,i.e., adapting from MR to CT, and from CT to MR.


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