Automated segmentation of portal vein (PV) for liver radiotherapy planning is a challenging task due to potentially low vasculature contrast, complex PV anatomy and image artifacts originated from fiducial markers and vasculature stents. In this paper, we propose a novel framework for automated PV segmentation from computed tomography (CT) images. We apply convolutional neural networks (CNN) to learn consistent appearance patterns of PV using a training set of CT images with reference annotations and then enhance PV in previously unseen CT images. Markov Random Fields (MRF) were further used to smooth the CNN enhancement results and remove isolated mis-segmented regions. Finally, CNN-MRF-based enhancement was augmented with PV centerline detection that was based on PV anatomical properties such as tubularity and branch composition. The framework was validated on a clinical database with 72 CT images of patients scheduled to liver stereotactic body radiation therapy. The obtained segmentation accuracy was DSC = 0.83 and ? = 1.08 in terms of the median Dice coefficient and mean symmetric surface distance, respectively, when segmentation is encompassed into the PV region of interest. The obtained results indicate that CNN can be used for accurate segmentation of PV and potentially integrated into liver radiation therapy planning.
View details for PubMedID 28994665