United adversarial learning for liver tumor segmentation and detection of multi-modality non-contrast MRI

Jianfeng Zhao, Dengwang Li, Shuo Li

Simultaneous segmentation and detection of liver tumors (hemangioma and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)) by using multi-modality non-contrast magnetic resonance imaging (NCMRI) are crucial for the clinical diagnosis. However, it is still a challenging task due to: (1) the HCC information on NCMRI is invisible or insufficient makes extraction of liver tumors feature difficult; (2) diverse imaging characteristics in multi-modality NCMRI causes feature fusion and selection difficult; (3) no specific information between hemangioma and HCC on NCMRI cause liver tumors detection difficult. In this study, we propose a united adversarial learning framework (UAL) for simultaneous liver tumors segmentation and detection using multi-modality NCMRI. The UAL first utilizes a multi-view aware encoder to extract multi-modality NCMRI information for liver tumor segmentation and detection. In this encoder, a novel edge dissimilarity feature pyramid module is designed to facilitate the complementary multi-modality feature extraction. Second, the newly designed fusion and selection channel is used to fuse the multi-modality feature and make the decision of the feature selection. Then, the proposed mechanism of coordinate sharing with padding integrates the multi-task of segmentation and detection so that it enables multi-task to perform united adversarial learning in one discriminator. Lastly, an innovative multi-phase radiomics guided discriminator exploits the clear and specific tumor information to improve the multi-task performance via the adversarial learning strategy. The UAL is validated in corresponding multi-modality NCMRI (i.e. T1FS pre-contrast MRI, T2FS MRI, and DWI) and three phases contrast-enhanced MRI of 255 clinical subjects. The experiments show that UAL has great potential in the clinical diagnosis of liver tumors.

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