Optimal co-segmentation of tumor in PET-CT images with context information

IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 2013 Sep;32(9):1685-97. doi: 10.1109/TMI.2013.2263388. Epub 2013 May 16.


Positron emission tomography (PET)-computed tomography (CT) images have been widely used in clinical practice for radiotherapy treatment planning of the radiotherapy. Many existing segmentation approaches only work for a single imaging modality, which suffer from the low spatial resolution in PET or low contrast in CT. In this work, we propose a novel method for the co-segmentation of the tumor in both PET and CT images, which makes use of advantages from each modality: the functionality information from PET and the anatomical structure information from CT. The approach formulates the segmentation problem as a minimization problem of a Markov random field model, which encodes the information from both modalities. The optimization is solved using a graph-cut based method. Two sub-graphs are constructed for the segmentation of the PET and the CT images, respectively. To achieve consistent results in two modalities, an adaptive context cost is enforced by adding context arcs between the two sub-graphs. An optimal solution can be obtained by solving a single maximum flow problem, which leads to simultaneous segmentation of the tumor volumes in both modalities. The proposed algorithm was validated in robust delineation of lung tumors on 23 PET-CT datasets and two head-and-neck cancer subjects. Both qualitative and quantitative results show significant improvement compared to the graph cut methods solely using PET or CT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Databases, Factual
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Markov Chains
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*