Fully automated segmentation of prostate whole gland and transition zone in diffusion-weighted MRI using convolutional neural networks

J Med Imaging (Bellingham). 2017 Oct;4(4):041307. doi: 10.1117/1.JMI.4.4.041307. Epub 2017 Oct 17.


Prostate cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related death among men. Multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging has become an essential part of the diagnostic evaluation of prostate cancer. The internationally accepted interpretation scheme (Pi-Rads v2) has different algorithms for scoring of the transition zone (TZ) and peripheral zone (PZ) of the prostate as tumors can appear different in these zones. Computer-aided detection tools have shown different performances in TZ and PZ and separating these zones for training and detection is essential. The TZ-PZ segmentation which requires the segmentation of prostate whole gland and TZ is typically done manually. We present a fully automatic algorithm for delineation of the prostate gland and TZ in diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) via a stack of fully convolutional neural networks. The proposed algorithm first detects the slices that contain a portion of prostate gland within the three-dimensional DWI volume and then it segments the prostate gland and TZ automatically. The segmentation stage of the algorithm was applied to DWI images of 104 patients and median Dice similarity coefficients of 0.93 and 0.88 were achieved for the prostate gland and TZ, respectively. The detection of image slices with and without prostate gland had an average accuracy of 0.97.

Keywords: convolutional networks; diffusion-weighted MRI; prostate cancer; prostate segmentation.