Topology polymorphism graph for lung tumor segmentation in PET-CT images Academic Article uri icon


  • Accurate lung tumor segmentation is problematic when the tumor boundary or edge, which reflects the advancing edge of the tumor, is difficult to discern on chest CT or PET. We propose a 'topo-poly' graph model to improve identification of the tumor extent. Our model incorporates an intensity graph and a topology graph. The intensity graph provides the joint PET-CT foreground similarity to differentiate the tumor from surrounding tissues. The topology graph is defined on the basis of contour tree to reflect the inclusion and exclusion relationship of regions. By taking into account different topology relations, the edges in our model exhibit topological polymorphism. These polymorphic edges in turn affect the energy cost when crossing different topology regions under a random walk framework, and hence contribute to appropriate tumor delineation. We validated our method on 40 patients with non-small cell lung cancer where the tumors were manually delineated by a clinical expert. The studies were separated into an 'isolated' group (n = 20) where the lung tumor was located in the lung parenchyma and away from associated structures / tissues in the thorax and a 'complex' group (n = 20) where the tumor abutted / involved a variety of adjacent structures and had heterogeneous FDG uptake. The methods were validated using Dice's similarity coefficient (DSC) to measure the spatial volume overlap and Hausdorff distance (HD) to compare shape similarity calculated as the maximum surface distance between the segmentation results and the manual delineations. Our method achieved an average DSC of 0.881 ± 0.046 and HD of 5.311 ± 3.022 mm for the isolated cases and DSC of 0.870 ± 0.038 and HD of 9.370 ± 3.169 mm for the complex cases. Student's t-test showed that our model outperformed the other methods (p-values <0.05).

publication date

  • 2015