Semi-Automatic RECIST Labeling on CT Scans with Cascaded Convolutional Neural Networks

25 Jun 2018  ·  Youbao Tang, Adam P. Harrison, Mohammadhadi Bagheri, Jing Xiao, Ronald M. Summers ·

Response evaluation criteria in solid tumors (RECIST) is the standard measurement for tumor extent to evaluate treatment responses in cancer patients. As such, RECIST annotations must be accurate. However, RECIST annotations manually labeled by radiologists require professional knowledge and are time-consuming, subjective, and prone to inconsistency among different observers. To alleviate these problems, we propose a cascaded convolutional neural network based method to semi-automatically label RECIST annotations and drastically reduce annotation time. The proposed method consists of two stages: lesion region normalization and RECIST estimation. We employ the spatial transformer network (STN) for lesion region normalization, where a localization network is designed to predict the lesion region and the transformation parameters with a multi-task learning strategy. For RECIST estimation, we adapt the stacked hourglass network (SHN), introducing a relationship constraint loss to improve the estimation precision. STN and SHN can both be learned in an end-to-end fashion. We train our system on the DeepLesion dataset, obtaining a consensus model trained on RECIST annotations performed by multiple radiologists over a multi-year period. Importantly, when judged against the inter-reader variability of two additional radiologist raters, our system performs more stably and with less variability, suggesting that RECIST annotations can be reliably obtained with reduced labor and time.

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