M3AE: Multimodal Representation Learning for Brain Tumor Segmentation with Missing Modalities

9 Mar 2023  ·  Hong Liu, Dong Wei, Donghuan Lu, Jinghan Sun, Liansheng Wang, Yefeng Zheng ·

Multimodal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides complementary information for sub-region analysis of brain tumors. Plenty of methods have been proposed for automatic brain tumor segmentation using four common MRI modalities and achieved remarkable performance. In practice, however, it is common to have one or more modalities missing due to image corruption, artifacts, acquisition protocols, allergy to contrast agents, or simply cost. In this work, we propose a novel two-stage framework for brain tumor segmentation with missing modalities. In the first stage, a multimodal masked autoencoder (M3AE) is proposed, where both random modalities (i.e., modality dropout) and random patches of the remaining modalities are masked for a reconstruction task, for self-supervised learning of robust multimodal representations against missing modalities. To this end, we name our framework M3AE. Meanwhile, we employ model inversion to optimize a representative full-modal image at marginal extra cost, which will be used to substitute for the missing modalities and boost performance during inference. Then in the second stage, a memory-efficient self distillation is proposed to distill knowledge between heterogenous missing-modal situations while fine-tuning the model for supervised segmentation. Our M3AE belongs to the 'catch-all' genre where a single model can be applied to all possible subsets of modalities, thus is economic for both training and deployment. Extensive experiments on BraTS 2018 and 2020 datasets demonstrate its superior performance to existing state-of-the-art methods with missing modalities, as well as the efficacy of its components. Our code is available at: https://github.com/ccarliu/m3ae.

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