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Teacher-student approach for lung tumor segmentation from mixed-supervised datasets

Abstract

Purpose
Cancer is among the leading causes of death in the developed world, and lung cancer is the most lethal type. Early detection is crucial for better prognosis, but can be resource intensive to achieve. Automating tasks such as lung tumor localization and segmentation in radiological images can free valuable time for radiologists and other clinical personnel. Convolutional neural networks may be suited for such tasks, but require substantial amounts of labeled data to train. Obtaining labeled data is a challenge, especially in the medical domain.

Methods
This paper investigates the use of a teacher-student design to utilize datasets with different types of supervision to train an automatic model performing pulmonary tumor segmentation on computed tomography images. The framework consists of two models: the student that performs end-to-end automatic tumor segmentation and the teacher that supplies the student additional pseudo-annotated data during training.

Results
Using only a small proportion of semantically labeled data and a large number of bounding box annotated data, we achieved competitive performance using a teacher-student design. Models trained on larger amounts of semantic annotations did not perform better than those trained on teacher-annotated data. Our model trained on a small number of semantically labeled data achieved a mean dice similarity coefficient of 71.0 on the MSD Lung dataset.

Conclusions
Our results demonstrate the potential of utilizing teacher-student designs to reduce the annotation load, as less supervised annotation schemes may be performed, without any real degradation in segmentation accuracy.

Category

Academic article

Language

English

Author(s)

Affiliation

  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • St. Olavs Hospital, Trondheim University Hospital
  • SINTEF Digital / Health Research

Year

2022

Published in

PLOS ONE

ISSN

1932-6203

Volume

17

Issue

4

Page(s)

1 - 14

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