An Adversarial Learning Approach to Medical Image Synthesis for Lesion Detection

The identification of lesion within medical image data is necessary for diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. Segmentation and classification approaches are mainly based on supervised learning with well-paired image-level or voxel-level labels. However, labeling the lesion in medical images is laborious requiring highly specialized knowledge. We propose a medical image synthesis model named abnormal-to-normal translation generative adversarial network (ANT-GAN) to generate a normal-looking medical image based on its abnormal-looking counterpart without the need for paired training data. Unlike typical GANs, whose aim is to generate realistic samples with variations, our more restrictive model aims at producing a normal-looking image corresponding to one containing lesions, and thus requires a special design. Being able to provide a "normal" counterpart to a medical image can provide useful side information for medical imaging tasks like lesion segmentation or classification validated by our experiments. In the other aspect, the ANT-GAN model is also capable of producing highly realistic lesion-containing image corresponding to the healthy one, which shows the potential in data augmentation verified in our experiments.

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