Fully-Automated Liver Tumor Localization and Characterization from Multi-Phase MR Volumes Using Key-Slice ROI Parsing: A Physician-Inspired Approach

by   Bolin Lai, et al.

Using radiological scans to identify liver tumors is crucial for proper patient treatment. This is highly challenging, as top radiologists only achieve F1 scores of roughly 80 moderate inter-rater agreement, even when using multi-phase magnetic resonance (MR) imagery. Thus, there is great impetus for computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) solutions. A critical challengeis to reliably parse a 3D MR volume to localize diagnosable regions of interest (ROI). In this paper, we break down this problem using a key-slice parser (KSP), which emulates physician workflows by first identifying key slices and then localize their corresponding key ROIs. Because performance demands are so extreme, (not to miss any key ROI),our KSP integrates complementary modules–top-down classification-plus-detection (CPD) and bottom-up localization-by-over-segmentation(LBOS). The CPD uses a curve-parsing and detection confidence to re-weight classifier confidences. The LBOS uses over-segmentation to flag CPD failure cases and provides its own ROIs. For scalability, LBOS is only weakly trained on pseudo-masks using a new distance-aware Tversky loss. We evaluate our approach on the largest multi-phase MR liver lesion test dataset to date (430 biopsy-confirmed patients). Experiments demonstrate that our KSP can localize diagnosable ROIs with high reliability (85 ground truth). Moreover, we achieve an HCC vs. others F1 score of 0.804, providing a fully-automated CAD solution comparable with top human physicians.


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