Few-shot image segmentation for cross-institution male pelvic organs using registration-assisted prototypical learning

by   Yiwen Li, et al.

The ability to adapt medical image segmentation networks for a novel class such as an unseen anatomical or pathological structure, when only a few labelled examples of this class are available from local healthcare providers, is sought-after. This potentially addresses two widely recognised limitations in deploying modern deep learning models to clinical practice, expertise-and-labour-intensive labelling and cross-institution generalisation. This work presents the first 3D few-shot interclass segmentation network for medical images, using a labelled multi-institution dataset from prostate cancer patients with eight regions of interest. We propose an image alignment module registering the predicted segmentation of both query and support data, in a standard prototypical learning algorithm, to a reference atlas space. The built-in registration mechanism can effectively utilise the prior knowledge of consistent anatomy between subjects, regardless whether they are from the same institution or not. Experimental results demonstrated that the proposed registration-assisted prototypical learning significantly improved segmentation accuracy (p-values<0.01) on query data from a holdout institution, with varying availability of support data from multiple institutions. We also report the additional benefits of the proposed 3D networks with 75 an arguably simpler implementation, compared with existing 2D few-shot approaches that segment 2D slices of volumetric medical images.


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