Clinical monitoring of metastatic disease to the brain can be a laborious and time-consuming process, especially in cases involving multiple metastases when the assessment is performed manually. The Response Assessment in Neuro-Oncology Brain Metastases (RANO-BM) guideline, which utilizes the unidimensional longest diameter, is commonly used in clinical and research settings to evaluate response to therapy in patients with brain metastases. However, accurate volumetric assessment of the lesion and surrounding peri-lesional edema holds significant importance in clinical decision-making and can greatly enhance outcome prediction. The unique challenge in performing segmentations of brain metastases lies in their common occurrence as small lesions. Detection and segmentation of lesions that are smaller than 10 mm in size has not demonstrated high accuracy in prior publications. The brain metastases challenge sets itself apart from previously conducted MICCAI challenges on glioma segmentation due to the significant variability in lesion size. Unlike gliomas, which tend to be larger on presentation scans, brain metastases exhibit a wide range of sizes and tend to include small lesions. We hope that the BraTS-METS dataset and challenge will advance the field of automated brain metastasis detection and segmentation.
Automated brain tumor segmentation methods are well established, reaching performance levels with clear clinical utility. Most algorithms require four input magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) modalities, typically T1-weighted images with and without contrast enhancement, T2-weighted images, and FLAIR images. However, some of these sequences are often missing in clinical practice, e.g., because of time constraints and/or image artifacts (such as patient motion). Therefore, substituting missing modalities to recover segmentation performance in these scenarios is highly desirable and necessary for the more widespread adoption of such algorithms in clinical routine. In this work, we report the set-up of the Brain MR Image Synthesis Benchmark (BraSyn), organized in conjunction with the Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention (MICCAI) 2023. The objective of the challenge is to benchmark image synthesis methods that realistically synthesize missing MRI modalities given multiple available images to facilitate automated brain tumor segmentation pipelines. The image dataset is multi-modal and diverse, created in collaboration with various hospitals and research institutions.
A myriad of algorithms for the automatic analysis of brain MR images is available to support clinicians in their decision-making. For brain tumor patients, the image acquisition time series typically starts with a scan that is already pathological. This poses problems, as many algorithms are designed to analyze healthy brains and provide no guarantees for images featuring lesions. Examples include but are not limited to algorithms for brain anatomy parcellation, tissue segmentation, and brain extraction. To solve this dilemma, we introduce the BraTS 2023 inpainting challenge. Here, the participants' task is to explore inpainting techniques to synthesize healthy brain scans from lesioned ones. The following manuscript contains the task formulation, dataset, and submission procedure. Later it will be updated to summarize the findings of the challenge. The challenge is organized as part of the BraTS 2023 challenge hosted at the MICCAI 2023 conference in Vancouver, Canada.
Although machine learning (ML) has shown promise in numerous domains, there are concerns about generalizability to out-of-sample data. This is currently addressed by centrally sharing ample, and importantly diverse, data from multiple sites. However, such centralization is challenging to scale (or even not feasible) due to various limitations. Federated ML (FL) provides an alternative to train accurate and generalizable ML models, by only sharing numerical model updates. Here we present findings from the largest FL study to-date, involving data from 71 healthcare institutions across 6 continents, to generate an automatic tumor boundary detector for the rare disease of glioblastoma, utilizing the largest dataset of such patients ever used in the literature (25,256 MRI scans from 6,314 patients). We demonstrate a 33% improvement over a publicly trained model to delineate the surgically targetable tumor, and 23% improvement over the tumor's entire extent. We anticipate our study to: 1) enable more studies in healthcare informed by large and diverse data, ensuring meaningful results for rare diseases and underrepresented populations, 2) facilitate further quantitative analyses for glioblastoma via performance optimization of our consensus model for eventual public release, and 3) demonstrate the effectiveness of FL at such scale and task complexity as a paradigm shift for multi-site collaborations, alleviating the need for data sharing.
Deep learning (DL) models have provided the state-of-the-art performance in a wide variety of medical imaging benchmarking challenges, including the Brain Tumor Segmentation (BraTS) challenges. However, the task of focal pathology multi-compartment segmentation (e.g., tumor and lesion sub-regions) is particularly challenging, and potential errors hinder the translation of DL models into clinical workflows. Quantifying the reliability of DL model predictions in the form of uncertainties, could enable clinical review of the most uncertain regions, thereby building trust and paving the way towards clinical translation. Recently, a number of uncertainty estimation methods have been introduced for DL medical image segmentation tasks. Developing metrics to evaluate and compare the performance of uncertainty measures will assist the end-user in making more informed decisions. In this study, we explore and evaluate a metric developed during the BraTS 2019-2020 task on uncertainty quantification (QU-BraTS), and designed to assess and rank uncertainty estimates for brain tumor multi-compartment segmentation. This metric (1) rewards uncertainty estimates that produce high confidence in correct assertions, and those that assign low confidence levels at incorrect assertions, and (2) penalizes uncertainty measures that lead to a higher percentages of under-confident correct assertions. We further benchmark the segmentation uncertainties generated by 14 independent participating teams of QU-BraTS 2020, all of which also participated in the main BraTS segmentation task. Overall, our findings confirm the importance and complementary value that uncertainty estimates provide to segmentation algorithms, and hence highlight the need for uncertainty quantification in medical image analyses. Our evaluation code is made publicly available at https://github.com/RagMeh11/QU-BraTS.
Neuroimaging biomarkers that distinguish between typical brain aging and Alzheimer's disease (AD) are valuable for determining how much each contributes to cognitive decline. Machine learning models can derive multi-variate brain change patterns related to the two processes, including the SPARE-AD (Spatial Patterns of Atrophy for Recognition of Alzheimer's Disease) and SPARE-BA (of Brain Aging) investigated herein. However, substantial overlap between brain regions affected in the two processes confounds measuring them independently. We present a methodology toward disentangling the two. T1-weighted MRI images of 4,054 participants (48-95 years) with AD, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or cognitively normal (CN) diagnoses from the iSTAGING (Imaging-based coordinate SysTem for AGIng and NeurodeGenerative diseases) consortium were analyzed. First, a subset of AD patients and CN adults were selected based purely on clinical diagnoses to train SPARE-BA1 (regression of age using CN individuals) and SPARE-AD1 (classification of CN versus AD). Second, analogous groups were selected based on clinical and molecular markers to train SPARE-BA2 and SPARE-AD2: amyloid-positive (A+) AD continuum group (consisting of A+AD, A+MCI, and A+ and tau-positive CN individuals) and amyloid-negative (A-) CN group. Finally, the combined group of the AD continuum and A-/CN individuals was used to train SPARE-BA3, with the intention to estimate brain age regardless of AD-related brain changes. Disentangled SPARE models derived brain patterns that were more specific to the two types of the brain changes. Correlation between the SPARE-BA and SPARE-AD was significantly reduced. Correlation of disentangled SPARE-AD was non-inferior to the molecular measurements and to the number of APOE4 alleles, but was less to AD-related psychometric test scores, suggesting contribution of advanced brain aging to these scores.
The BraTS 2021 challenge celebrates its 10th anniversary and is jointly organized by the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), the American Society of Neuroradiology (ASNR), and the Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Interventions (MICCAI) society. Since its inception, BraTS has been focusing on being a common benchmarking venue for brain glioma segmentation algorithms, with well-curated multi-institutional multi-parametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) data. Gliomas are the most common primary malignancies of the central nervous system, with varying degrees of aggressiveness and prognosis. The RSNA-ASNR-MICCAI BraTS 2021 challenge targets the evaluation of computational algorithms assessing the same tumor compartmentalization, as well as the underlying tumor's molecular characterization, in pre-operative baseline mpMRI data from 2,000 patients. Specifically, the two tasks that BraTS 2021 focuses on are: a) the segmentation of the histologically distinct brain tumor sub-regions, and b) the classification of the tumor's O-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) promoter methylation status. The performance evaluation of all participating algorithms in BraTS 2021 will be conducted through the Sage Bionetworks Synapse platform (Task 1) and Kaggle (Task 2), concluding in distributing to the top ranked participants monetary awards of $60,000 collectively.
This manuscript describes the first challenge on Federated Learning, namely the Federated Tumor Segmentation (FeTS) challenge 2021. International challenges have become the standard for validation of biomedical image analysis methods. However, the actual performance of participating (even the winning) algorithms on "real-world" clinical data often remains unclear, as the data included in challenges are usually acquired in very controlled settings at few institutions. The seemingly obvious solution of just collecting increasingly more data from more institutions in such challenges does not scale well due to privacy and ownership hurdles. Towards alleviating these concerns, we are proposing the FeTS challenge 2021 to cater towards both the development and the evaluation of models for the segmentation of intrinsically heterogeneous (in appearance, shape, and histology) brain tumors, namely gliomas. Specifically, the FeTS 2021 challenge uses clinically acquired, multi-institutional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans from the BraTS 2020 challenge, as well as from various remote independent institutions included in the collaborative network of a real-world federation (https://www.fets.ai/). The goals of the FeTS challenge are directly represented by the two included tasks: 1) the identification of the optimal weight aggregation approach towards the training of a consensus model that has gained knowledge via federated learning from multiple geographically distinct institutions, while their data are always retained within each institution, and 2) the federated evaluation of the generalizability of brain tumor segmentation models "in the wild", i.e. on data from institutional distributions that were not part of the training datasets.
As neuroimaging databases grow in size and complexity, the time researchers spend investigating and managing the data increases to the expense of data analysis. As a result, investigators rely more and more heavily on scripting using high-level languages to automate data management and processing tasks. For this, a structured and programmatic access to the data store is necessary. Web services are a first step toward this goal. They however lack in functionality and ease of use because they provide only low level interfaces to databases. We introduce here PyXNAT, a Python module that interacts with The Extensible Neuroimaging Archive Toolkit (XNAT) through native Python calls across multiple operating systems. The choice of Python enables PyXNAT to expose the XNAT Web Services and unify their features with a higher level and more expressive language. PyXNAT provides XNAT users direct access to all the scientific packages in Python. Finally PyXNAT aims to be efficient and easy to use, both as a backend library to build XNAT clients and as an alternative frontend from the command line.