Keywords: prostate gland, image processing, neural networks, magnetic resonance imaging.
Abstract: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides detailed anatomical images of the prostate (PR) and its zones. The importance of segmenting the prostate and the prostate zones, such as the central zone (CZ) and the peripheral zone (PZ) lies in the fact that the diagnostic guidelines differ depending on in which zone the lesion is located. Thus, automatic prostate and prostate zone segmentation from MR images is an important topic for many diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. However, the prostate tissue heterogeneity and the huge varieties of prostate shapes among patients make this task very challenging. Therefore, we propose a new neural network named Dense U-net inspired by the state-of-the-art DenseNet and U-net to automatically segment prostate and prostate zones. It was trained on 141 patient datasets and tested on 47 patient datasets with axial T2-weighted images in four-fold cross-validation manner. The network can successfully segment the gland and its subsequent zones. This Dense U-net compared with the state-of-the-art U-net achieved an average dice score for the whole prostate of 91.2± 0.8% vs. 89.2 ± 0.8%, for CZ of 89.2± 0.2% vs. 87.4 ± 0.2%, and for PZ of 76.4± 0.2% vs. 74.0± 0.2%. The experimental results show that the developed Dense U-net was more accurate than the state-of-the-art U-net for prostate and prostate zone segmentation.
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