Neural Computing and Applications

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 1317–1340 | Cite as

A joint intensity and edge magnitude-based multilevel thresholding algorithm for the automatic segmentation of pathological MR brain images

  • Taranjit KaurEmail author
  • Barjinder Singh Saini
  • Savita Gupta
Original Article


Multilevel thresholding is one of the most popular image segmentation techniques due to its simplicity and accuracy. Most of the thresholding approaches use either the histogram of an image or information from the grey-level co-occurrence matrix (GLCM) to compute the threshold. The medical images like MRI usually have vague boundaries and poor contrast. So, segmenting these images using solely histogram or texture attributes of GLCM proves to be insufficient. This paper proposes a novel multilevel thresholding approach for automatic segmentation of tumour lesions from magnetic resonance images. The proposed technique exploits both intensity and edge magnitude information present in image histogram and GLCM to compute the multiple thresholds. Subsequently, using both attributes, a hybrid fitness function has been formulated which can capture the variations in intensity and the edge magnitude present in different tumour groups effectively. Mutation-based particle swarm optimization (MPSO) technique has been used to optimize the fitness function so as to mitigate the problem of high computational complexity existing in the exhaustive search methods. Moreover, MPSO has better exploration capabilities as compared to conventional particle swarm optimization. The performance of the devised technique has been evaluated and compared with two other intensity- and texture-based approaches using three different measures: Jaccard, Dice and misclassification error. To compute these quantitative metrics, experiments were conducted on a series of images, including low-grade glioma tumour volumes taken from brain tumour image segmentation benchmark 2012 and 2015 data sets and real clinical tumour images. Experimental results show that the proposed approach outperforms the other competing algorithms by achieving an average value equal to 0.752, 0.854, 0.0052; 0.648, 0.762, 0.0177; 0.710, 0.813, 0.0148 and 0.886, 0.937, 0.0037 for four different data sets.


Automatic segmentation Multilevel thresholding MPSO Intensity Edge magnitude 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the efforts by Dr. Sandeep Singh Pawar (Advance Diagnostic Centre, Ludhiana, Punjab) for providing the clinical data and the interpretations.


This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

None declared.

Ethical approval

This research has been approved by the Research Advisory Committee of the Institute. In addition, all of the procedures performed during the image acquisition process comply with the ethical standards of the diagnostic centre from which the image data have been taken.


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Copyright information

© The Natural Computing Applications Forum 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Taranjit Kaur
    • 1
    Email author
  • Barjinder Singh Saini
    • 1
  • Savita Gupta
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Electronics and Communication EngineeringDr. B. R. Ambedkar National Institute of TechnologyJalandharIndia
  2. 2.Department of Computer Science and Engineering, UIET, Sector 25Panjab UniversityChandigarhIndia

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