PET image enhancement using artificial intelligence for better characterization of epilepsy lesions

Anthime Flaus*, Tahya Deddah, Anthonin Reilhac, Nicolas De Leiris, Marc Janier, Ines Merida, Thomas Grenier, Colm J. McGinnity, Alexander Hammers, Carole Lartizien, Nicolas Costes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose ([18F]FDG) brain PET is used clinically to detect small areas of decreased uptake associated with epileptogenic lesions, e.g., Focal Cortical Dysplasias (FCD) but its performance is limited due to spatial resolution and low contrast. We aimed to develop a deep learning-based PET image enhancement method using simulated PET to improve lesion visualization. Methods: We created 210 numerical brain phantoms (MRI segmented into 9 regions) and assigned 10 different plausible activity values (e.g., GM/WM ratios) resulting in 2100 ground truth high quality (GT-HQ) PET phantoms. With a validated Monte-Carlo PET simulator, we then created 2100 simulated standard quality (S-SQ) [18F]FDG scans. We trained a ResNet on 80% of this dataset (10% used for validation) to learn the mapping between S-SQ and GT-HQ PET, outputting a predicted HQ (P-HQ) PET. For the remaining 10%, we assessed Peak Signal-to-Noise Ratio (PSNR), Structural Similarity Index Measure (SSIM), and Root Mean Squared Error (RMSE) against GT-HQ PET. For GM and WM, we computed recovery coefficients (RC) and coefficient of variation (COV). We also created lesioned GT-HQ phantoms, S-SQ PET and P-HQ PET with simulated small hypometabolic lesions characteristic of FCDs. We evaluated lesion detectability on S-SQ and P-HQ PET both visually and measuring the Relative Lesion Activity (RLA, measured activity in the reduced-activity ROI over the standard-activity ROI). Lastly, we applied our previously trained ResNet on 10 clinical epilepsy PETs to predict the corresponding HQ-PET and assessed image quality and confidence metrics. Results: Compared to S-SQ PET, P-HQ PET improved PNSR, SSIM and RMSE; significatively improved GM RCs (from 0.29 ± 0.03 to 0.79 ± 0.04) and WM RCs (from 0.49 ± 0.03 to 1 ± 0.05); mean COVs were not statistically different. Visual lesion detection improved from 38 to 75%, with average RLA decreasing from 0.83 ± 0.08 to 0.67 ± 0.14. Visual quality of P-HQ clinical PET improved as well as reader confidence. Conclusion: P-HQ PET showed improved image quality compared to S-SQ PET across several objective quantitative metrics and increased detectability of simulated lesions. In addition, the model generalized to clinical data. Further evaluation is required to study generalization of our method and to assess clinical performance in larger cohorts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1042706
JournalFrontiers in Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2022


  • brain
  • clinical application
  • deblurring
  • deep learning
  • focal cortical dysplasia (FCD)
  • Monte-Carlo simulation
  • residual network
  • super resolution (SR)


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