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20 March 2015 Automated segmentation of thyroid gland on CT images with multi-atlas label fusion and random classification forest
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The thyroid gland plays an important role in clinical practice, especially for radiation therapy treatment planning. For patients with head and neck cancer, radiation therapy requires a precise delineation of the thyroid gland to be spared on the pre-treatment planning CT images to avoid thyroid dysfunction. In the current clinical workflow, the thyroid gland is normally manually delineated by radiologists or radiation oncologists, which is time consuming and error prone. Therefore, a system for automated segmentation of the thyroid is desirable. However, automated segmentation of the thyroid is challenging because the thyroid is inhomogeneous and surrounded by structures that have similar intensities. In this work, the thyroid gland segmentation is initially estimated by multi-atlas label fusion algorithm. The segmentation is refined by supervised statistical learning based voxel labeling with a random forest algorithm. Multiatlas label fusion (MALF) transfers expert-labeled thyroids from atlases to a target image using deformable registration. Errors produced by label transfer are reduced by label fusion that combines the results produced by all atlases into a consensus solution. Then, random forest (RF) employs an ensemble of decision trees that are trained on labeled thyroids to recognize features. The trained forest classifier is then applied to the thyroid estimated from the MALF by voxel scanning to assign the class-conditional probability. Voxels from the expert-labeled thyroids in CT volumes are treated as positive classes; background non-thyroid voxels as negatives. We applied this automated thyroid segmentation system to CT scans of 20 patients. The results showed that the MALF achieved an overall 0.75 Dice Similarity Coefficient (DSC) and the RF classification further improved the DSC to 0.81.
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Jiamin Liu, Kevin Chang, Lauren Kim, Evrim Turkbey, Le Lu, Jianhua Yao, and Ronald Summers "Automated segmentation of thyroid gland on CT images with multi-atlas label fusion and random classification forest", Proc. SPIE 9414, Medical Imaging 2015: Computer-Aided Diagnosis, 941413 (20 March 2015);

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