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Meningioma segmentation in T1-weighted MRI leveraging global context and attention mechanisms

01/19/2021
by   David Bouget, et al.
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Meningiomas are the most common type of primary brain tumor, accounting for approximately 30 never surgically removed but rather monitored over time. Automatic and precise meningioma segmentation is therefore beneficial to enable reliable growth estimation and patient-specific treatment planning. In this study, we propose the inclusion of attention mechanisms over a U-Net architecture: (i) Attention-gated U-Net (AGUNet) and (ii) Dual Attention U-Net (DAUNet), using a 3D MRI volume as input. Attention has the potential to leverage the global context and identify features' relationships across the entire volume. To limit spatial resolution degradation and loss of detail inherent to encoder-decoder architectures, we studied the impact of multi-scale input and deep supervision components. The proposed architectures are trainable end-to-end and each concept can be seamlessly disabled for ablation studies. The validation studies were performed using a 5-fold cross validation over 600 T1-weighted MRI volumes from St. Olavs University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway. For the best performing architecture, an average Dice score of 81.6 95.6 were occasionally missed hence reaching an overall recall of 93 global context from a 3D MRI volume provided the best performances, even if the native volume resolution could not be processed directly. Overall, near-perfect detection was achieved for meningiomas larger than 3ml which is relevant for clinical use. In the future, the use of multi-scale designs and refinement networks should be further investigated to improve the performance. A larger number of cases with meningiomas below 3ml might also be needed to improve the performance for the smallest tumors.

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