A deep learning classification scheme based on augmented-enhanced features to segment organs at risk on the optic region in brain cancer patients

Jose Dolz, Nicolas Reyns, Nacim Betrouni, Dris Kharroubi, Mathilde Quidet, Laurent Massoptier, Maximilien Vermandel

Radiation therapy has emerged as one of the preferred techniques to treat brain cancer patients. During treatment, a very high dose of radiation is delivered to a very narrow area. Prescribed radiation therapy for brain cancer requires precisely defining the target treatment area, as well as delineating vital brain structures which must be spared from radiotoxicity. Nevertheless, delineation task is usually still manually performed, which is inefficient and operator-dependent. Several attempts of automatizing this process have reported. however, marginal results when analyzing organs in the optic region. In this work we present a deep learning classification scheme based on augmented-enhanced features to automatically segment organs at risk (OARs) in the optic region -optic nerves, optic chiasm, pituitary gland and pituitary stalk-. Fifteen MR images with various types of brain tumors were retrospectively collected to undergo manual and automatic segmentation. Mean Dice Similarity coefficients around 0.80 were reported. Incorporation of proposed features yielded to improvements on the segmentation. Compared with support vector machines, our method achieved better performance with less variation on the results, as well as a considerably reduction on the classification time. Performance of the proposed approach was also evaluated with respect to manual contours. In this case, results obtained from the automatic contours mostly lie on the variability of the observers, showing no significant differences with respect to them. These results suggest therefore that the proposed system is more accurate than other presented approaches, up to date, to segment these structures. The speed, reproducibility, and robustness of the process make the proposed deep learning-based classification system a valuable tool for assisting in the delineation task of small OARs in brain cancer.

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