Fully convolutional networks (FCNs)-based segmentation method for colorectal tumors on T2-weighted magnetic resonance images
Segmentation of colorectal tumors is the basis of preoperative prediction, staging, and therapeutic response evaluation. Due to the blurred boundary between lesions and normal colorectal tissue, it is hard to realize accurate segmentation. Routinely manual or semi-manual segmentation methods are extremely tedious, time-consuming, and highly operator-dependent. In the framework of FCNs, a segmentation method for colorectal tumor was presented. Normalization was applied to reduce the differences among images. Borrowing from transfer learning, VGG-16 was employed to extract features from normalized images. We conducted five side-output blocks from the last convolutional layer of each block of VGG-16 along the network, these side-output blocks can deep dive multiscale features, and produced corresponding predictions. Finally, all of the predictions from side-output blocks were fused to determine the final boundaries of the tumors. A quantitative comparison of 2772 colorectal tumor manual segmentation results from T2-weighted magnetic resonance images shows that the average Dice similarity coefficient, positive predictive value, specificity, sensitivity, Hammoude distance, and Hausdorff distance were 83.56, 82.67, 96.75, 87.85%, 0.2694, and 8.20, respectively. The proposed method is superior to U-net in colorectal tumor segmentation (P < 0.05). There is no difference between cross-entropy loss and Dice-based loss in colorectal tumor segmentation (P > 0.05). The results indicate that the introduction of FCNs contributed to accurate segmentation of colorectal tumors. This method has the potential to replace the present time-consuming and nonreproducible manual segmentation method.
KeywordsColorectal tumor Fully convolutional network Segmentation MRI
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81571772).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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