A hybrid region growing tumour segmentation method for low contrast and high noise Nuclear Medicine (NM) images by combining a novel non-linear diffusion filter and global gradient measure (HNDF-GGM-RG)

Mahbubunnabi Tamal
2019 Heliyon  
Poor spatial resolution and low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) along with the finite image sampling constraint make lesion segmentation on Nuclear Medicine (NM) images (e.g., PET-Positron Emission Tomography) a challenging task. Since the size, signal-to-background ratio (SBR) and SNR of lesion vary within and between patients, performance of the conventional segmentation methods are not consistent against statistical fluctuations. To overcome these limitations, a hybrid region growing
more » ... method is proposed combining non-linear diffusion filter and global gradient measure (HNDF-GGM-RG). The performance of the algorithm is validated on PET images and compared with the 40%-fixed threshold and a state-of-the-art active contour (AC) methods. Segmented volume, dice similarity coefficient (DSC) and percentage classification error (% CE) were used as the quantitative figures of merit (FOM) using the torso NEMA phantom that contains six different sizes of spheres. A 2:1 SBR was created between the spheres and background and the phantom was scanned with a Siemens TrueV PET-CT scanner. 40T method is SNR dependent and overestimates the volumes ( ≈ 4.5 times ) . AC volumes match with the true volumes only for the largest three spheres. On the other hand, the proposed HNDF-GGM-RG volumes match closely with the true volumes irrespective of the size and SNR. Average DSC of 0.32 and 0.66 and % CE of 700% and 160% were achieved by the 40T and AC methods respectively. Conversely, average DSC and %CE are 0.70 and 60% for HNDF-GGM-RG and less dependent on SNR. Since two-sample t-test indicates that the performance of AC and HNDF-GGM-RG are statistically significant for the smallest three spheres and similar for the rest, HNDF-GGM-RG can be applied where the size, SBR and SNR are subject to change either due to alterations in the radiotracer uptake because of treatment or uptake variability of different radiotracers because of differences in their molecular pathways.
doi:10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e02993 pmid:31879709 pmcid:PMC6920261 fatcat:b3jv6sootjbhddmv2cwomhnqti