Direct Estimation of Pharmacokinetic Parameters from DCE-MRI Using Deep CNN with Forward Physical Model Loss
Dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) MRI is an evolving imaging technique that provides a quantitative measure of pharmacokinetic (PK) parameters in body tissues, in which series of \(T_1\)-weighted images are collected following the administration of a paramagnetic contrast agent. Unfortunately, in many applications, conventional clinical DCE-MRI suffers from low spatiotemporal resolution and insufficient volume coverage. In this paper, we propose a novel deep learning based approach to directly estimate the PK parameters from undersampled DCE-MRI data. Specifically, we design a custom loss function where we incorporate a forward physical model that relates the PK parameters to corrupted image-time series obtained due to subsampling in k-space. This allows the network to directly exploit the knowledge of true contrast agent kinetics in the training phase, and hence provide more accurate restoration of PK parameters. Experiments on clinical brain DCE datasets demonstrate the efficacy of our approach in terms of fidelity of PK parameter reconstruction and significantly faster parameter inference compared to a model-based iterative reconstruction method.
The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Unions H2020 Framework Programme (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2014) under grant agreement no 642685 MacSeNet. We acknowledge Wellcome Trust (Grant 353 088134/Z/09/A) for recruitment and MRI scanning costs. We also gratefully acknowledge the support of NVIDIA Corporation with the donation of the GeForce Titan Xp GPU used for this research.
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