NestedFormer: Nested Modality-Aware Transformer for Brain Tumor Segmentation

31 Aug 2022  ·  Zhaohu Xing, Lequan Yu, Liang Wan, Tong Han, Lei Zhu ·

Multi-modal MR imaging is routinely used in clinical practice to diagnose and investigate brain tumors by providing rich complementary information. Previous multi-modal MRI segmentation methods usually perform modal fusion by concatenating multi-modal MRIs at an early/middle stage of the network, which hardly explores non-linear dependencies between modalities. In this work, we propose a novel Nested Modality-Aware Transformer (NestedFormer) to explicitly explore the intra-modality and inter-modality relationships of multi-modal MRIs for brain tumor segmentation. Built on the transformer-based multi-encoder and single-decoder structure, we perform nested multi-modal fusion for high-level representations of different modalities and apply modality-sensitive gating (MSG) at lower scales for more effective skip connections. Specifically, the multi-modal fusion is conducted in our proposed Nested Modality-aware Feature Aggregation (NMaFA) module, which enhances long-term dependencies within individual modalities via a tri-orientated spatial-attention transformer, and further complements key contextual information among modalities via a cross-modality attention transformer. Extensive experiments on BraTS2020 benchmark and a private meningiomas segmentation (MeniSeg) dataset show that the NestedFormer clearly outperforms the state-of-the-arts. The code is available at

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