Attention Gate ResU-Net for automatic MRI brain tumor segmentation
Brain tumor segmentation technology plays a pivotal role in the process of diagnosis and treatment of MRI brain tumors. It helps doctors to locate and measure tumors, as well as develop treatment and rehabilitation strategies. Recently, MRI brain tumor segmentation methods based on U-Net architecture have become popular as they largely improve the segmentation accuracy by applying skip connection to combine high-level feature information and low-level feature information. Meanwhile, researchers
... have demonstrated that introducing attention mechanism into U-Net can enhance local feature expression and improve the performance of medical image segmentation. In this work, we aim to explore the effectiveness of a recent attention module called attention gate for brain tumor segmentation task, and a novel Attention Gate Residual U-Net model, i.e., AGResU-Net, is further presented. AGResU-Net integrates residual modules and attention gates with a primeval and single U-Net architecture, in which a series of attention gate units are added into the skip connection for highlighting salient feature information while disambiguating irrelevant and noisy feature responses. AGResU-Net not only extracts abundant semantic information to enhance the ability of feature learning, but also pays attention to the information of small-scale brain tumors. We extensively evaluate attention gate units on three authoritative MRI brain tumor benchmarks, i.e., BraTS 2017, BraTS 2018 and BraTS 2019. Experimental results illuminate that models with attention gate units, i.e., Attention Gate U-Net (AGU-Net) and AGResU-Net, outperform their baselines of U-Net and ResU-Net, respectively. In addition, AGResU-Net achieves competitive performance than the representative brain tumor segmentation methods. INDEX TERMS MRI, brain tumor segmentation, U-Net, attention gate, residual module.