Within-brain classification for brain tumor segmentation

  • Mohammad HavaeiEmail author
  • Hugo Larochelle
  • Philippe Poulin
  • Pierre-Marc Jodoin
Original Article



In this paper, we investigate a framework for interactive brain tumor segmentation which, at its core, treats the problem of interactive brain tumor segmentation as a machine learning problem.


This method has an advantage over typical machine learning methods for this task where generalization is made across brains. The problem with these methods is that they need to deal with intensity bias correction and other MRI-specific noise. In this paper, we avoid these issues by approaching the problem as one of within brain generalization. Specifically, we propose a semi-automatic method that segments a brain tumor by training and generalizing within that brain only, based on some minimum user interaction.


We investigate how adding spatial feature coordinates (i.e., i, j, k) to the intensity features can significantly improve the performance of different classification methods such as SVM, kNN and random forests. This would only be possible within an interactive framework. We also investigate the use of a more appropriate kernel and the adaptation of hyper-parameters specifically for each brain.


As a result of these experiments, we obtain an interactive method whose results reported on the MICCAI-BRATS 2013 dataset are the second most accurate compared to published methods, while using significantly less memory and processing power than most state-of-the-art methods.


Within-brain generalization Machine learning Brain tumor segmentation Computer-aided detection Segmentation Interactive 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© CARS 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammad Havaei
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hugo Larochelle
    • 1
  • Philippe Poulin
    • 1
  • Pierre-Marc Jodoin
    • 1
  1. 1.Université de SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada

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