Multi-planar 3D breast segmentation in MRI via deep convolutional neural networks

Gabriele Piantadosi, Mario Sansone, Roberta Fusco, Carlo Sansone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nowadays, Dynamic Contrast Enhanced-Magnetic Resonance Imaging (DCE-MRI) has demonstrated to be a valid complementary diagnostic tool for early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer. However, without a CAD (Computer Aided Detection) system, manual DCE-MRI examination can be difficult and error-prone. The early stage of breast tissue segmentation, in a typical CAD, is crucial to increase reliability and reduce the computational effort by reducing the number of voxels to analyze and removing foreign tissues and air. In recent years, the deep convolutional neural networks (CNNs) enabled a sensible improvement in many visual tasks automation, such as image classification and object recognition. These advances also involved radiomics, enabling high-throughput extraction of quantitative features, resulting in a strong improvement in automatic diagnosis through medical imaging. However, machine learning and, in particular, deep learning approaches are gaining popularity in the radiomics field for tissue segmentation. This work aims to accurately segment breast parenchyma from the air and other tissues (such as chest-wall) by applying an ensemble of deep CNNs on 3D MR data. The novelty, besides applying cutting-edge techniques in the radiomics field, is a multi-planar combination of U-Net CNNs by a suitable projection-fusing approach, enabling multi-protocol applications. The proposed approach has been validated over two different datasets for a total of 109 DCE-MRI studies with histopathologically proven lesions and two different acquisition protocols. The median dice similarity index for both the datasets is 96.60 % (±0.30 %) and 95.78 % (±0.51 %) respectively with p < 0.05, and 100% of neoplastic lesion coverage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101781
JournalArtificial Intelligence in Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Breast
  • Convolutional neural networks
  • MRI
  • Segmentation
  • U-Net

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Artificial Intelligence


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