Harvesting, Detecting, and Characterizing Liver Lesions from Large-scale Multi-phase CT Data via Deep Dynamic Texture Learning
Non-invasive radiological-based lesion characterization and identification, e.g., to differentiate cancer subtypes, has long been a major aim to enhance oncological diagnosis and treatment procedures. Here we study a specific population of human subjects, with the hope of reducing the need for invasive surgical biopsies of liver cancer patients, which can cause many harmful side-effects. To this end, we propose a fully-automated and multi-stage liver tumor characterization framework designed
... dynamic contrast computed tomography (CT). Our system comprises four sequential processes of tumor proposal detection, tumor harvesting, primary tumor site selection, and deep texture-based tumor characterization. Our main contributions are that, (1) we propose a 3D non-isotropic anchor-free detection method for liver lesions; (2) we present and validate spatially adaptivedeep texture (SaDT) learning, which allows for more precise characterization of liver lesions; (3) using a semi-automatic process, we bootstrap off of 200 gold standard annotations to curate another 1001 patients. Experimental evaluations demonstrate that our new data curation strategy, combined with the SaDT deep dynamic texture analysis, can effectively improve the mean F1 scores by >8.6% compared with baselines, in differentiating four major liver lesion types. Our F1 score of (hepatocellular carcinoma versus remaining subclasses) is 0.763, which is higher than reported human observer performance using dynamic CT and comparable to an advanced magnetic resonance imagery protocol. Apart from demonstrating the benefits of our data curation approach and physician-inspired workflow, these results also indicate that analyzing texture features, instead of standard object-based analysis, is a promising strategy for lesion differentiation.