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Region of interest focused MRI to synthetic CT translation using regression and segmentation multi-task network

Lookup NU author(s): JJ Wyatt


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© 2023 Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine. Objective: In MR-only clinical workflow, replacing CT with MR image is of advantage for workflow efficiency and reduces radiation to the patient. An important step required to eliminate CT scan from the workflow is to generate the information provided by CT via an MR image. In this work, we aim to demonstrate a method to generate accurate synthetic CT (sCT) from an MR image to suit the radiation therapy (RT) treatment planning workflow. We show the feasibility of the method and make way for a broader clinical evaluation. Approach: We present a machine learning method for sCT generation from zero-echo-time (ZTE) MRI aimed at structural and quantitative accuracies of the image, with a particular focus on the accurate bone density value prediction. The misestimation of bone density in the radiation path could lead to unintended dose delivery to the target volume and results in suboptimal treatment outcome. We propose a loss function that favors a spatially sparse bone region in the image. We harness the ability of the multi-task network to produce correlated outputs as a framework to enable localization of region of interest (RoI) via segmentation, emphasize regression of values within RoI and still retain the overall accuracy via global regression. The network is optimized by a composite loss function that combines a dedicated loss from each task. Main results: We have included 54 brain patient images in this study and tested the sCT images against reference CT on a subset of 20 cases. A pilot dose evaluation was performed on 9 of the 20 test cases to demonstrate the viability of the generated sCT in RT planning. The average quantitative metrics produced by the proposed method over the test set were-(a) mean absolute error (MAE) of 70 ± 8.6 HU; (b) peak signal-to-noise ratio (PSNR) of 29.4 ± 2.8 dB; structural similarity metric (SSIM) of 0.95 ± 0.02; and (d) Dice coefficient of the body region of 0.984 ± 0. Significance: We demonstrate that the proposed method generates sCT images that resemble visual characteristics of a real CT image and has a quantitative accuracy that suits RT dose planning application. We compare the dose calculation from the proposed sCT and the real CT in a radiation therapy treatment planning setup and show that sCT based planning falls within 0.5% target dose error. The method presented here with an initial dose evaluation makes an encouraging precursor to a broader clinical evaluation of sCT based RT planning on different anatomical regions.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kaushik SS, Bylund M, Cozzini C, Shanbhag D, Petit SF, Wyatt JJ, Menzel MI, Pirkl C, Mehta B, Chauhan V, Chandrasekharan K, Jonsson J, Nyholm T, Wiesinger F, Menze B

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Physics in Medicine and Biology

Year: 2023

Volume: 68

Issue: 19

Online publication date: 18/09/2023

Acceptance date: 10/08/2023

ISSN (print): 0031-9155

ISSN (electronic): 1361-6560

Publisher: Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd


DOI: 10.1088/1361-6560/acefa3

PubMed id: 37567235


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Funder referenceFunder name
19037EIT Health e.V.