The identification and quantification of liver lesions changes in longitudinal contrast enhanced CT (CECT) scans is required to evaluate disease status and to determine treatment efficacy in support of clinical decision-making. This paper describes a fully automatic end-to-end pipeline for liver lesion changes analysis in consecutive (prior and current) abdominal CECT scans of oncology patients. The three key novelties are: (1) SimU-Net, a simultaneous multi-channel 3D R2U-Net model trained on pairs of registered scans of each patient that identifies the liver lesions and their changes based on the lesion and healthy tissue appearance differences; (2) a model-based bipartite graph lesions matching method for the analysis of lesion changes at the lesion level; (3) a method for longitudinal analysis of one or more of consecutive scans of a patient based on SimU-Net that handles major liver deformations and incorporates lesion segmentations from previous analysis. To validate our methods, five experimental studies were conducted on a unique dataset of 3491 liver lesions in 735 pairs from 218 clinical abdominal CECT scans of 71 patients with metastatic disease manually delineated by an expert radiologist. The pipeline with the SimU-Net model, trained and validated on 385 pairs and tested on 249 pairs, yields a mean lesion detection recall of 0.86±0.14, a precision of 0.74±0.23 and a lesion segmentation Dice of 0.82±0.14 for lesions > 5 mm. This outperforms a reference standalone 3D R2-UNet mdel that analyzes each scan individually by ∼50% in precision with similar recall and Dice score on the same training and test datasets. For lesions matching, the precision is 0.86±0.18 and the recall is 0.90±0.15. For lesion classification, the specificity is 0.97±0.07, the precision is 0.85±0.31, and the recall is 0.86±0.23. Our new methods provide accurate and comprehensive results that may help reduce radiologists' time and effort and improve radiological oncology evaluation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research has been partially supported by a grant from the Israel Innovation Authority, Kamin grant 72061/20.
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.
- Abdominal contrast-enhanced CT scans
- Liver lesion changes analysis
- Liver lesions detection and segmentation
- Longitudinal radiological evaluation
- Simultaneous deep learning voxel classification