NuClick: From Clicks in the Nuclei to Nuclear Boundaries

7 Sep 2019  ·  Mostafa Jahanifar, Navid Alemi Koohbanani, Nasir Rajpoot ·

Best performing nuclear segmentation methods are based on deep learning algorithms that require a large amount of annotated data. However, collecting annotations for nuclear segmentation is a very labor-intensive and time-consuming task. Thereby, providing a tool that can facilitate and speed up this procedure is very demanding. Here we propose a simple yet efficient framework based on convolutional neural networks, named NuClick, which can precisely segment nuclei boundaries by accepting a single point position (or click) inside each nucleus. Based on the clicked positions, inclusion and exclusion maps are generated which comprise 2D Gaussian distributions centered on those positions. These maps serve as guiding signals for the network as they are concatenated to the input image. The inclusion map focuses on the desired nucleus while the exclusion map indicates neighboring nuclei and improve the results of segmentation in scenes with nuclei clutter. The NuClick not only facilitates collecting more annotation from unseen data but also leads to superior segmentation output for deep models. It is also worth mentioning that an instance segmentation model trained on NuClick generated labels was able to rank first in LYON19 challenge.

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