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Automatic Brain Tumor Segmentation Based on Cascaded Convolutional Neural Networks With Uncertainty Estimation

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Original languageEnglish
Article number56
JournalFrontiers in Computational Neuroscience
Accepted/In press30 Jul 2019
Published13 Aug 2019


King's Authors


Automatic segmentation of brain tumors from medical images is important for clinical assessment and treatment planning of brain tumors. Recent years have seen an increasing use of convolutional neural networks (CNNs) for this task, but most of them use either 2D networks with relatively low memory requirement while ignoring 3D context, or 3D networks exploiting 3D features while with large memory consumption. In addition, existing methods rarely provide uncertainty information associated with the segmentation result. We propose a cascade of CNNs to segment brain tumors with hierarchical subregions from multi-modal Magnetic Resonance images (MRI), and introduce a 2.5D network that is a trade-off between memory consumption, model complexity and receptive field. In addition, we employ test-time augmentation to achieve improved segmentation accuracy, which also provides voxel-wise and structure-wise uncertainty information of the segmentation result. Experiments with BraTS 2017 dataset showed that our cascaded framework with 2.5D CNNs was one of the top performing methods (second-rank) for the BraTS challenge. We also validated our method with BraTS 2018 dataset and found that test-time augmentation improves brain tumor segmentation accuracy and that the resulting uncertainty information can indicate potential mis-segmentations and help to improve segmentation accuracy.

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