The aim of this study was to develop dual segmentation models for poorly and well-differentiated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), using two-step transfer learning (TSTL) based on dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) computed tomography (CT) images. From 2013 to 2019, DCE-CT images of 128 patients with 80 poorly differentiated and 48 well-differentiated HCCs were selected at our hospital. In the first transfer learning (TL) step, a pre-trained segmentation model with 192 CT images of lung cancer patients was retrained as a poorly differentiated HCC model. In the second TL step, a well-differentiated HCC model was built from a poorly differentiated HCC model. The average three-dimensional Dice’s similarity coefficient (3D-DSC) and 95th-percentile of the Hausdorff distance (95% HD) were mainly employed to evaluate the segmentation accuracy, based on a nested fourfold cross-validation test. The DSC denotes the degree of regional similarity between the HCC reference regions and the regions estimated using the proposed models. The 95% HD is defined as the 95th-percentile of the maximum measures of how far two subsets of a metric space are from each other. The average 3D-DSC and 95% HD were 0.849 ± 0.078 and 1.98 ± 0.71 mm, respectively, for poorly differentiated HCC regions, and 0.811 ± 0.089 and 2.01 ± 0.84 mm, respectively, for well-differentiated HCC regions. The average 3D-DSC for both regions was 1.2 times superior to that calculated without the TSTL. The proposed model using TSTL from the lung cancer dataset showed the potential to segment poorly and well-differentiated HCC regions on DCE-CT images.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Biomedical Engineering
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging