Improving Patch-Based Convolutional Neural Networks for MRI Brain Tumor Segmentation by Leveraging Location Information
The manual brain tumor annotation process is time consuming and resource consuming, therefore, an automated and accurate brain tumor segmentation tool is greatly in demand. In this paper, we introduce a novel method to integrate location information with the state-of-the-art patch-based neural networks for brain tumor segmentation. This is motivated by the observation that lesions are not uniformly distributed across different brain parcellation regions and that a locality-sensitive segmentation is likely to obtain better segmentation accuracy. Toward this, we use an existing brain parcellation atlas in the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) space and map this atlas to the individual subject data. This mapped atlas in the subject data space is integrated with structural Magnetic Resonance (MR) imaging data, and patch-based neural networks, including 3D U-Net and DeepMedic, are trained to classify the different brain lesions. Multiple state-of-the-art neural networks are trained and integrated with XGBoost fusion in the proposed two-level ensemble method. The first level reduces the uncertainty of the same type of models with different seed initializations, and the second level leverages the advantages of different types of neural network models. The proposed location information fusion method improves the segmentation performance of state-of-the-art networks including 3D U-Net and DeepMedic. Our proposed ensemble also achieves better segmentation performance compared to the state-of-the-art networks in BraTS 2017 and rivals state-of-the-art networks in BraTS 2018. Detailed results are provided on the public multimodal brain tumor segmentation (BraTS) benchmarks.