Ultra-low-dose PET reconstruction using generative adversarial network with feature matching and task-specific perceptual loss

Med Phys. 2019 Aug;46(8):3555-3564. doi: 10.1002/mp.13626. Epub 2019 Jun 17.


Purpose: Our goal was to use a generative adversarial network (GAN) with feature matching and task-specific perceptual loss to synthesize standard-dose amyloid Positron emission tomography (PET) images of high quality and including accurate pathological features from ultra-low-dose PET images only.

Methods: Forty PET datasets from 39 participants were acquired with a simultaneous PET/MRI scanner following injection of 330 ± 30 MBq of the amyloid radiotracer 18F-florbetaben. The raw list-mode PET data were reconstructed as the standard-dose ground truth and were randomly undersampled by a factor of 100 to reconstruct 1% low-dose PET scans. A 2D encoder-decoder network was implemented as the generator to synthesize a standard-dose image and a discriminator was used to evaluate them. The two networks contested with each other to achieve high-visual quality PET from the ultra-low-dose PET. Multi-slice inputs were used to reduce noise by providing the network with 2.5D information. Feature matching was applied to reduce hallucinated structures. Task-specific perceptual loss was designed to maintain the correct pathological features. The image quality was evaluated by peak signal-to-noise ratio (PSNR), structural similarity (SSIM), and root mean square error (RMSE) metrics with and without each of these modules. Two expert radiologists were asked to score image quality on a 5-point scale and identified the amyloid status (positive or negative).

Results: With only low-dose PET as input, the proposed method significantly outperformed Chen et al.'s method (Chen et al. Radiology. 2018;290:649-656) (which shows the best performance in this task) with the same input (PET-only model) by 1.87 dB in PSNR, 2.04% in SSIM, and 24.75% in RMSE. It also achieved comparable results to Chen et al.'s method which used additional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) inputs (PET-MR model). Experts' reading results showed that the proposed method could achieve better overall image quality and maintain better pathological features indicating amyloid status than both PET-only and PET-MR models proposed by Chen et al. CONCLUSION: Standard-dose amyloid PET images can be synthesized from ultra-low-dose images using GAN. Applying adversarial learning, feature matching, and task-specific perceptual loss are essential to ensure image quality and the preservation of pathological features.

Keywords: GAN; deep learning; ultra-low-dose PET reconstruction.

MeSH terms

  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Machine Learning*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Signal-To-Noise Ratio