Automated fibroglandular tissue segmentation and volumetric density estimation in breast MRI using an atlas-aided fuzzy C-means method.
ABSTRACT: Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) plays an important role in the clinical management of breast cancer. Studies suggest that the relative amount of fibroglandular (i.e., dense) tissue in the breast as quantified in MR images can be predictive of the risk for developing breast cancer, especially for high-risk women. Automated segmentation of the fibroglandular tissue and volumetric density estimation in breast MRI could therefore be useful for breast cancer risk assessment.In this work the authors develop and validate a fully automated segmentation algorithm, namely, an atlas-aided fuzzy C-means (FCM-Atlas) method, to estimate the volumetric amount of fibroglandular tissue in breast MRI. The FCM-Atlas is a 2D segmentation method working on a slice-by-slice basis. FCM clustering is first applied to the intensity space of each 2D MR slice to produce an initial voxelwise likelihood map of fibroglandular tissue. Then a prior learned fibroglandular tissue likelihood atlas is incorporated to refine the initial FCM likelihood map to achieve enhanced segmentation, from which the absolute volume of the fibroglandular tissue (|FGT|) and the relative amount (i.e., percentage) of the |FGT| relative to the whole breast volume (FGT%) are computed. The authors' method is evaluated by a representative dataset of 60 3D bilateral breast MRI scans (120 breasts) that span the full breast density range of the American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System. The automated segmentation is compared to manual segmentation obtained by two experienced breast imaging radiologists. Segmentation performance is assessed by linear regression, Pearson's correlation coefficients, Student's paired t-test, and Dice's similarity coefficients (DSC).The inter-reader correlation is 0.97 for FGT% and 0.95 for |FGT|. When compared to the average of the two readers' manual segmentation, the proposed FCM-Atlas method achieves a correlation of r = 0.92 for FGT% and r = 0.93 for |FGT|, and the automated segmentation is not statistically significantly different (p = 0.46 for FGT% and p = 0.55 for |FGT|). The bilateral correlation between left breasts and right breasts for the FGT% is 0.94, 0.92, and 0.95 for reader 1, reader 2, and the FCM-Atlas, respectively; likewise, for the |FGT|, it is 0.92, 0.92, and 0.93, respectively. For the spatial segmentation agreement, the automated algorithm achieves a DSC of 0.69 ± 0.1 when compared to reader 1 and 0.61 ± 0.1 for reader 2, respectively, while the DSC between the two readers' manual segmentation is 0.67 ± 0.15. Additional robustness analysis shows that the segmentation performance of the authors' method is stable both with respect to selecting different cases and to varying the number of cases needed to construct the prior probability atlas. The authors' results also show that the proposed FCM-Atlas method outperforms the commonly used two-cluster FCM-alone method. The authors' method runs at ∼5 min for each 3D bilateral MR scan (56 slices) for computing the FGT% and |FGT|, compared to ∼55 min needed for manual segmentation for the same purpose.The authors' method achieves robust segmentation and can serve as an efficient tool for processing large clinical datasets for quantifying the fibroglandular tissue content in breast MRI. It holds a great potential to support clinical applications in the future including breast cancer risk assessment.
Project description:To develop and test an automated algorithm to classify the different tissues present in dedicated breast CT images.The original CT images are first corrected to overcome cupping artifacts, and then a multiscale bilateral filter is used to reduce noise while keeping edge information on the images. As skin and glandular tissues have similar CT values on breast CT images, morphologic processing is used to identify the skin mask based on its position information. A modified fuzzy C-means (FCM) classification method is then used to classify breast tissue as fat and glandular tissue. By combining the results of the skin mask with the FCM, the breast tissue is classified as skin, fat, and glandular tissue. To evaluate the authors' classification method, the authors use Dice overlap ratios to compare the results of the automated classification to those obtained by manual segmentation on eight patient images.The correction method was able to correct the cupping artifacts and improve the quality of the breast CT images. For glandular tissue, the overlap ratios between the authors' automatic classification and manual segmentation were 91.6% ± 2.0%.A cupping artifact correction method and an automatic classification method were applied and evaluated for high-resolution dedicated breast CT images. Breast tissue classification can provide quantitative measurements regarding breast composition, density, and tissue distribution.
Project description:Quantification of breast density based on three-dimensional breast MRI may provide useful information for the early detection of breast cancer. However, the field inhomogeneity can severely challenge the computerized image segmentation process. In this work, the effect of the bias field in breast density quantification has been investigated with a postmortem study.T1-weighted images of 20 pairs of postmortem breasts were acquired on a 1.5 T breast MRI scanner. Two computer-assisted algorithms were used to quantify the volumetric breast density. First, standard fuzzy c-means (FCM) clustering was used on raw images with the bias field present. Then, the coherent local intensity clustering (CLIC) method estimated and corrected the bias field during the iterative tissue segmentation process. Finally, FCM clustering was performed on the bias-field-corrected images produced by CLIC method. The left-right correlation for breasts in the same pair was studied for both segmentation algorithms to evaluate the precision of the tissue classification. Finally, the breast densities measured with the three methods were compared to the gold standard tissue compositions obtained from chemical analysis. The linear correlation coefficient, Pearson's r, was used to evaluate the two image segmentation algorithms and the effect of bias field.The CLIC method successfully corrected the intensity inhomogeneity induced by the bias field. In left-right comparisons, the CLIC method significantly improved the slope and the correlation coefficient of the linear fitting for the glandular volume estimation. The left-right breast density correlation was also increased from 0.93 to 0.98. When compared with the percent fibroglandular volume (%FGV) from chemical analysis, results after bias field correction from both the CLIC the FCM algorithms showed improved linear correlation. As a result, the Pearson's r increased from 0.86 to 0.92 with the bias field correction.The investigated CLIC method significantly increased the precision and accuracy of breast density quantification using breast MRI images by effectively correcting the bias field. It is expected that a fully automated computerized algorithm for breast density quantification may have great potential in clinical MRI applications.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:The purpose of this study is to evaluate the predictive value of the amount of fibroglandular tissue (FGT) and background parenchymal enhancement (BPE), measured at baseline on breast MRI, for breast cancer development and risk of false-positive findings in women at increased risk for breast cancer. METHODS:Negative baseline MRI scans of 1533 women participating in a screening program for women at increased risk for breast cancer between January 1, 2003, and January 1, 2014, were selected. Automated tools based on deep learning were used to obtain quantitative measures of FGT and BPE. Logistic regression using forward selection was used to assess relationships between FGT, BPE, cancer detection, false-positive recall, and false-positive biopsy. RESULTS:Sixty cancers were detected in follow-up. FGT was only associated to short-term cancer risk; BPE was not associated with cancer risk. High FGT and BPE did lead to more false-positive recalls at baseline (OR 1.259, p = 0.050, and OR 1.475, p = 0.003) and to more frequent false-positive biopsies at baseline (OR 1.315, p = 0.049, and OR 1.807, p = 0.002), but were not predictive for false-positive findings in subsequent screening rounds. CONCLUSIONS:FGT and BPE, measured on baseline MRI, are not predictive for overall breast cancer development in women at increased risk. High FGT and BPE lead to more false-positive findings at baseline. KEY POINTS:• Amount of fibroglandular tissue is only predictive for short-term breast cancer risk in women at increased risk. • Background parenchymal enhancement measured on baseline MRI is not predictive for breast cancer development in women at increased risk. • High amount of fibroglandular tissue and background parenchymal enhancement lead to more false-positive findings at baseline MRI.
Project description:PURPOSE:To review features used in MRI radiomics of breast cancer and study the inter-reader stability of the features. METHODS:We implemented 529 algorithmic features that can be extracted from tumor and fibroglandular tissue (FGT) in breast MRIs. The features were identified based on a review of the existing literature with consideration of their usage, prognostic ability, and uniqueness. The set was then extended so that it comprehensively describes breast cancer imaging characteristics. The features were classified into 10 groups based on the type of data used to extract them and the type of calculation being performed. For the assessment of inter-reader variability, four fellowship-trained readers annotated tumors on preoperative dynamic contrast-enhanced MRIs for 50 breast cancer patients. Based on the annotations, an algorithm automatically segmented the image and extracted all features resulting in one set of features for each reader. For a given feature, the inter-reader stability was defined as the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) computed using the feature values obtained through all readers for all cases. RESULTS:The average inter-reader stability for all features was 0.8474 (95% CI: 0.8068-0.8858). The mean inter-reader stability was lower for tumor-based features (0.6348, 95% CI: 0.5391-0.7257) than FGT-based features (0.9984, 95% CI: 0.9970-0.9992). The feature group with the highest inter-reader stability quantifies breast and FGT volume. The feature group with the lowest inter-reader stability quantifies variations in tumor enhancement. CONCLUSIONS:Breast MRI radiomics features widely vary in terms of their stability in the presence of inter-reader variability. Appropriate measures need to be taken for reducing this variability in tumor-based radiomics.
Project description:Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) plays an important role in the clinical management of breast cancer. Computerized analysis is increasingly used to quantify breast MRI features in applications such as computer-aided lesion detection and fibroglandular tissue estimation for breast cancer risk assessment. Automated segmentation of the whole-breast as an organ from the other parts imaged is an important step in aiding lesion localization and fibroglandular tissue quantification. For this task, identifying the chest wall line (CWL) is most challenging due to image contrast variations, intensity discontinuity, and bias field.In this work, the authors develop and validate a fully automated image processing algorithm for accurate delineation of the CWL in sagittal breast MRI. The CWL detection is based on an integrated scheme of edge extraction and CWL candidate evaluation. The edge extraction consists of applying edge-enhancing filters and an edge linking algorithm. Increased accuracy is achieved by the synergistic use of multiple image inputs for edge extraction, where multiple CWL candidates are evaluated by the dynamic time warping algorithm coupled with the construction of a CWL reference. Their method is quantitatively validated by a dataset of 60 3D bilateral sagittal breast MRI scans (in total 3360 2D MR slices) that span the full American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) breast density range. Agreement with manual segmentation obtained by an experienced breast imaging radiologist is assessed by both volumetric and boundary-based metrics, including four quantitative measures.In terms of breast volume agreement with manual segmentation, the overlay percentage expressed by the Dice's similarity coefficient is 95.0% and the difference percentage is 10.1%. More specifically, for the segmentation accuracy of the CWL boundary, the CWL overlay percentage is 92.7% and averaged deviation distance is 2.3 mm. Their method requires ≈ 4.5 min for segmenting each 3D breast MRI scan (56 slices) in comparison to ≈ 35 min required for manual segmentation. Further analysis indicates that the segmentation performance of their method is relatively stable across the different BI-RADS density categories and breast volume, and also robust with respect to a varying range of the major parameters of the algorithm.Their fully automated method achieves high segmentation accuracy in a time-efficient manner. It could support large scale quantitative breast MRI analysis and holds the potential to become integrated into the clinical workflow for breast cancer clinical applications in the future.
Project description:Segmentation of breast lesions on dynamic contrast enhanced (DCE) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the first step in lesion diagnosis in a computer-aided diagnosis framework. Because manual segmentation of such lesions is both time consuming and highly susceptible to human error and issues of reproducibility, an automated lesion segmentation method is highly desirable. Traditional automated image segmentation methods such as boundary-based active contour (AC) models require a strong gradient at the lesion boundary. Even when region-based terms are introduced to an AC model, grayscale image intensities often do not allow for clear definition of foreground and background region statistics. Thus, there is a need to find alternative image representations that might provide (1) strong gradients at the margin of the object of interest (OOI); and (2) larger separation between intensity distributions and region statistics for the foreground and background, which are necessary to halt evolution of the AC model upon reaching the border of the OOI.In this paper, the authors introduce a spectral embedding (SE) based AC (SEAC) for lesion segmentation on breast DCE-MRI. SE, a nonlinear dimensionality reduction scheme, is applied to the DCE time series in a voxelwise fashion to reduce several time point images to a single parametric image where every voxel is characterized by the three dominant eigenvectors. This parametric eigenvector image (PrEIm) representation allows for better capture of image region statistics and stronger gradients for use with a hybrid AC model, which is driven by both boundary and region information. They compare SEAC to ACs that employ fuzzy c-means (FCM) and principal component analysis (PCA) as alternative image representations. Segmentation performance was evaluated by boundary and region metrics as well as comparing lesion classification using morphological features from SEAC, PCA+AC, and FCM+AC.On a cohort of 50 breast DCE-MRI studies, PrEIm yielded overall better region and boundary-based statistics compared to the original DCE-MR image, FCM, and PCA based image representations. Additionally, SEAC outperformed a hybrid AC applied to both PCA and FCM image representations. Mean dice similarity coefficient (DSC) for SEAC was significantly better (DSC = 0.74 ± 0.21) than FCM+AC (DSC = 0.50 ± 0.32) and similar to PCA+AC (DSC = 0.73 ± 0.22). Boundary-based metrics of mean absolute difference and Hausdorff distance followed the same trends. Of the automated segmentation methods, breast lesion classification based on morphologic features derived from SEAC segmentation using a support vector machine classifier also performed better (AUC = 0.67 ± 0.05; p < 0.05) than FCM+AC (AUC = 0.50 ± 0.07), and PCA+AC (AUC = 0.49 ± 0.07).In this work, we presented SEAC, an accurate, general purpose AC segmentation tool that could be applied to any imaging domain that employs time series data. SE allows for projection of time series data into a PrEIm representation so that every voxel is characterized by the dominant eigenvectors, capturing the global and local time-intensity curve similarities in the data. This PrEIm allows for the calculation of strong tensor gradients and better region statistics than the original image intensities or alternative image representations such as PCA and FCM. The PrEIm also allows for building a more accurate hybrid AC scheme.
Project description:The amount of fibroglandular tissue content in the breast as estimated mammographically, commonly referred to as breast percent density (PD%), is one of the most significant risk factors for developing breast cancer. Approaches to quantify breast density commonly focus on either semiautomated methods or visual assessment, both of which are highly subjective. Furthermore, most studies published to date investigating computer-aided assessment of breast PD% have been performed using digitized screen-film mammograms, while digital mammography is increasingly replacing screen-film mammography in breast cancer screening protocols. Digital mammography imaging generates two types of images for analysis, raw (i.e., "FOR PROCESSING") and vendor postprocessed (i.e., "FOR PRESENTATION"), of which postprocessed images are commonly used in clinical practice. Development of an algorithm which effectively estimates breast PD% in both raw and postprocessed digital mammography images would be beneficial in terms of direct clinical application and retrospective analysis.This work proposes a new algorithm for fully automated quantification of breast PD% based on adaptive multiclass fuzzy c-means (FCM) clustering and support vector machine (SVM) classification, optimized for the imaging characteristics of both raw and processed digital mammography images as well as for individual patient and image characteristics. Our algorithm first delineates the breast region within the mammogram via an automated thresholding scheme to identify background air followed by a straight line Hough transform to extract the pectoral muscle region. The algorithm then applies adaptive FCM clustering based on an optimal number of clusters derived from image properties of the specific mammogram to subdivide the breast into regions of similar gray-level intensity. Finally, a SVM classifier is trained to identify which clusters within the breast tissue are likely fibroglandular, which are then aggregated into a final dense tissue segmentation that is used to compute breast PD%. Our method is validated on a group of 81 women for whom bilateral, mediolateral oblique, raw and processed screening digital mammograms were available, and agreement is assessed with both continuous and categorical density estimates made by a trained breast-imaging radiologist.Strong association between algorithm-estimated and radiologist-provided breast PD% was detected for both raw (r = 0.82, p < 0.001) and processed (r = 0.85, p < 0.001) digital mammograms on a per-breast basis. Stronger agreement was found when overall breast density was assessed on a per-woman basis for both raw (r = 0.85, p < 0.001) and processed (0.89, p < 0.001) mammograms. Strong agreement between categorical density estimates was also seen (weighted Cohen's κ ≥ 0.79). Repeated measures analysis of variance demonstrated no statistically significant differences between the PD% estimates (p > 0.1) due to either presentation of the image (raw vs processed) or method of PD% assessment (radiologist vs algorithm).The proposed fully automated algorithm was successful in estimating breast percent density from both raw and processed digital mammographic images. Accurate assessment of a woman's breast density is critical in order for the estimate to be incorporated into risk assessment models. These results show promise for the clinical application of the algorithm in quantifying breast density in a repeatable manner, both at time of imaging as well as in retrospective studies.
Project description:To compare two methods of automatic breast segmentation with each other and with manual segmentation in a large subject cohort. To discuss the factors involved in selecting the most appropriate algorithm for automatic segmentation and, in particular, to investigate the appropriateness of overlap measures (e.g., Dice and Jaccard coefficients) as the primary determinant in algorithm selection.Two methods of breast segmentation were applied to the task of calculating MRI breast density in 200 subjects drawn from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, a large cohort study with an MRI component. A semiautomated, bias-corrected, fuzzy C-means (BC-FCM) method was combined with morphological operations to segment the overall breast volume from in-phase Dixon images. The method makes use of novel, problem-specific insights. The resulting segmentation mask was then applied to the corresponding Dixon water and fat images, which were combined to give Dixon MRI density values. Contemporaneously acquired T1 - and T2 -weighted image datasets were analyzed using a novel and fully automated algorithm involving image filtering, landmark identification, and explicit location of the pectoral muscle boundary. Within the region found, fat-water discrimination was performed using an Expectation Maximization-Markov Random Field technique, yielding a second independent estimate of MRI density.Images are presented for two individual women, demonstrating how the difficulty of the problem is highly subject-specific. Dice and Jaccard coefficients comparing the semiautomated BC-FCM method, operating on Dixon source data, with expert manual segmentation are presented. The corresponding results for the method based on T1 - and T2 -weighted data are slightly lower in the individual cases shown, but scatter plots and interclass correlations for the cohort as a whole show that both methods do an excellent job in segmenting and classifying breast tissue.Epidemiological results demonstrate that both methods of automated segmentation are suitable for the chosen application and that it is important to consider a range of factors when choosing a segmentation algorithm, rather than focus narrowly on a single metric such as the Dice coefficient.
Project description:Cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) is an increasingly utilized imaging modality for the diagnosis and treatment planning of the patients with craniomaxillofacial (CMF) deformities. Accurate segmentation of CBCT image is an essential step to generate three-dimensional (3D) models for the diagnosis and treatment planning of the patients with CMF deformities. However, due to the poor image quality, including very low signal-to-noise ratio and the widespread image artifacts such as noise, beam hardening, and inhomogeneity, it is challenging to segment the CBCT images. In this paper, the authors present a new automatic segmentation method to address these problems.To segment CBCT images, the authors propose a new method for fully automated CBCT segmentation by using patch-based sparse representation to (1) segment bony structures from the soft tissues and (2) further separate the mandible from the maxilla. Specifically, a region-specific registration strategy is first proposed to warp all the atlases to the current testing subject and then a sparse-based label propagation strategy is employed to estimate a patient-specific atlas from all aligned atlases. Finally, the patient-specific atlas is integrated into a maximum a posteriori probability-based convex segmentation framework for accurate segmentation.The proposed method has been evaluated on a dataset with 15 CBCT images. The effectiveness of the proposed region-specific registration strategy and patient-specific atlas has been validated by comparing with the traditional registration strategy and population-based atlas. The experimental results show that the proposed method achieves the best segmentation accuracy by comparison with other state-of-the-art segmentation methods.The authors have proposed a new CBCT segmentation method by using patch-based sparse representation and convex optimization, which can achieve considerably accurate segmentation results in CBCT segmentation based on 15 patients.
Project description:Previously, a strong positive association between background parenchymal enhancement (BPE) at magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and breast cancer was reported in high-risk populations. We sought to determine, whether this was also true for non-high-risk patients.540 consecutive patients underwent breast MRI for assessment of breast findings (BI-RADS 0-5, non-high-risk screening (no familial history of breast cancer, no known genetic mutation, no prior chest irradiation, or previous breast cancer diagnosis)) and subsequent histological work-up. For this IRB-approved study, BPE and fibroglandular tissue FGT were retrospectively assessed by two experienced radiologists according to the BI-RADS lexicon. Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated to explore associations between BPE, FGT, age and final diagnosis of breast cancer. Subsequently, multivariate logistic regression analysis, considering covariate colinearities, was performed, using final diagnosis as the target variable and BPE, FGT and age as covariates.Age showed a moderate negative correlation with FGT (r = -0.43, p<0.001) and a weak negative correlation with BPE (r = -0.28, p<0.001). FGT and BPE correlated moderately (r = 0.35, p<0.001). Final diagnosis of breast cancer displayed very weak negative correlations with FGT (r = -0.09, p = 0.046) and BPE (r = -0.156, p<0.001) and weak positive correlation with age (r = 0.353, p<0.001). On multivariate logistic regression analysis, the only independent covariate for prediction of breast cancer was age (OR 1.032, p<0.001).Based on our data, neither BPE nor FGT independently correlate with breast cancer risk in non-high-risk patients at MRI. Our model retained only age as an independent risk factor for breast cancer in this setting.