Deep Learned Segmentations of Inflammation for Novel ⁹⁹ᵐTc -maraciclatide Imaging of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Robert Cobb, Gary J. R. Cook, Andrew J. Reader

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes joint pain, stiffness, and erosion. Power Doppler ultrasound and MRI are imaging modalities used in detecting and monitoring the disease, but they have limitations. ⁹⁹mTc-maraciclatide gamma camera imaging is a novel technique that can detect joint inflammation at all sites in a single examination and has been shown to correlate with power Doppler ultrasound. In this work, we investigate if machine learning models can be used to automatically segment regions of normal, low, and highly inflamed tissue from 192 ⁹⁹mTc-maraciclatide scans of the hands and wrists from 48 patients. Two models were trained: a thresholding model that learns lower and upper threshold values and a neural-network-based nnU-Net model that uses a convolutional neural network (CNN). The nnU-Net model showed 0.94 ± 0.01, 0.51 ± 0.14, and 0.76 ± 0.16 modified Dice scores for segmenting the normal, low, and highly inflamed tissue, respectively, when compared to clinical segmented labels. This outperforms the thresholding model, which achieved modified Dice scores of 0.92 ± 0.01, 0.14 ± 0.07, and 0.35 ± 0.21, respectively. This is an important first step in developing artificial intelligence (AI) tools to assist clinicians’ workflow in the use of this new radiopharmaceutical.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDiagnostics (Basel, Switzerland)
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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