Deep Learning-based Image Conversion of CT Reconstruction Kernels Improves Radiomics Reproducibility for Pulmonary Nodules or Masses.
Radiology. 2019 Jun 18:181960. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2019181960. [Epub ahead of print]
Choe J, Lee SM, Do KH, Lee G, Lee JG, Lee SM, Seo JB.
Background: Intratumor heterogeneity in lung cancer may influence outcomes. CT radiomics seeks to assess tumor features to provide detailed imaging features. However, CT radiomic features vary according to the reconstruction kernel used for image generation.
Purpose: To investigate the effect of different reconstruction kernels on radiomic features and assess whether image conversion using a convolutional neural network (CNN) could improve reproducibility of radiomic features between different kernels.
Materials and Methods: In this retrospective analysis, patients underwent non-contrast material-enhanced and contrast material-enhanced axial chest CT with soft kernel (B30f) and sharp kernel (B50f) reconstruction using a single CT scanner from April to June 2017. To convert different kernels without sinogram, the CNN model was developed using residual learning and an end-to-end way. Kernel-converted images were generated, from B30f to B50f and from B50f to B30f. Pulmonary nodules or masses were semiautomatically segmented and 702 radiomic features (tumor intensity, texture, and wavelet features) were extracted. Measurement variability in radiomic features was evaluated using the concordance correlation coefficient (CCC).
Results: A total of 104 patients were studied, including 54 women and 50 men, with pulmonary nodules or masses (mean age, 63.2 years ± 10.5). The CCC between two readers using the same kernel was 0.92, and 592 of 702 (84.3%) of the radiomic features were reproducible (CCC ≥ 0.85); using different kernels, the CCC was 0.38 and only 107 of 702 (15.2%) of the radiomic features were reliable. Texture features and wavelet features were predominantly affected by reconstruction kernel (CCC, from 0.88 to 0.61 for texture features and from 0.92 to 0.35 for wavelet features). After applying image conversion, CCC improved to 0.84 and 403 of 702 (57.4%) radiomic features were reproducible (CCC, 0.85 for texture features and 0.84 for wavelet features).
Conclusion: Chest CT image conversion using a convolutional neural network effectively reduced the effect of two different reconstruction kernels and may improve the reproducibility of radiomic features in pulmonary nodules or masses.
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