CT-Based Pelvic T<sub>1</sub>-Weighted MR Image Synthesis Using UNet, UNet++ and Cycle-Consistent Generative Adversarial Network (Cycle-GAN).
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Background Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are the mainstay imaging modalities in radiotherapy planning. In MR-Linac treatment, manual annotation of organs-at-risk (OARs) and clinical volumes requires a significant clinician interaction and is a major challenge. Currently, there is a lack of available pre-annotated MRI data for training supervised segmentation algorithms. This study aimed to develop a deep learning (DL)-based framework to synthesize pelvic T 1 -weighted MRI from a pre-existing repository of clinical planning CTs.Methods MRI synthesis was performed using UNet++ and cycle-consistent generative adversarial network (Cycle-GAN), and the predictions were compared qualitatively and quantitatively against a baseline UNet model using pixel-wise and perceptual loss functions. Additionally, the Cycle-GAN predictions were evaluated through qualitative expert testing (4 radiologists), and a pelvic bone segmentation routine based on a UNet architecture was trained on synthetic MRI using CT-propagated contours and subsequently tested on real pelvic T 1 weighted MRI scans.Results In our experiments, Cycle-GAN generated sharp images for all pelvic slices whilst UNet and UNet++ predictions suffered from poorer spatial resolution within deformable soft-tissues (e.g. bladder, bowel). Qualitative radiologist assessment showed inter-expert variabilities in the test scores; each of the four radiologists correctly identified images as acquired/synthetic with 67%, 100%, 86% and 94% accuracy. Unsupervised segmentation of pelvic bone on T1-weighted images was successful in a number of test cases.Conclusion Pelvic MRI synthesis is a challenging task due to the absence of soft-tissue contrast on CT. Our study showed the potential of deep learning models for synthesizing realistic MR images from CT, and transferring cross-domain knowledge which may help to expand training datasets for 21 development of MR-only segmentation models.
Frontiers in oncology, 2021, 11 pp. 665807 - ?