A slice classification model-facilitated 3D encoder-decoder network for segmenting organs at risk in head and neck cancer

Head and Neck Cancer
08/10/2020

J Radiat Res. 2020 Oct 8:rraa094. doi: 10.1093/jrr/rraa094. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

For deep learning networks used to segment organs at risk (OARs) in head and neck (H&N) cancers, the class-imbalance problem between small volume OARs and whole computed tomography (CT) images results in delineation with serious false-positives on irrelevant slices and unnecessary time-consuming calculations. To alleviate this problem, a slice classification model-facilitated 3D encoder-decoder network was developed and validated. In the developed two-step segmentation model, a slice classification model was firstly utilized to classify CT slices into six categories in the craniocaudal direction. Then the target categories for different OARs were pushed to the different 3D encoder-decoder segmentation networks, respectively. All the patients were divided into training (n = 120), validation (n = 30) and testing (n = 20) datasets. The average accuracy of the slice classification model was 95.99%. The Dice similarity coefficient and 95% Hausdorff distance, respectively, for each OAR were as follows: right eye (0.88 ± 0.03 and 1.57 ± 0.92 mm), left eye (0.89 ± 0.03 and 1.35 ± 0.43 mm), right optic nerve (0.72 ± 0.09 and 1.79 ± 1.01 mm), left optic nerve (0.73 ± 0.09 and 1.60 ± 0.71 mm), brainstem (0.87 ± 0.04 and 2.28 ± 0.99 mm), right temporal lobe (0.81 ± 0.12 and 3.28 ± 2.27 mm), left temporal lobe (0.82 ± 0.09 and 3.73 ± 2.08 mm), right temporomandibular joint (0.70 ± 0.13 and 1.79 ± 0.79 mm), left temporomandibular joint (0.70 ± 0.16 and 1.98 ± 1.48 mm), mandible (0.89 ± 0.02 and 1.66 ± 0.51 mm), right parotid (0.77 ± 0.07 and 7.30 ± 4.19 mm) and left parotid (0.71 ± 0.12 and 8.41 ± 4.84 mm). The total segmentation time was 40.13 s. The 3D encoder-decoder network facilitated by the slice classification model demonstrated superior performance in accuracy and efficiency in segmenting OARs in H&N CT images. This may significantly reduce the workload for radiation oncologists.