Deep Learning Based Liver Cancer Segmentation from Computed Tomography Images



Background: Liver cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide. According to WHO data in 2017, the liver cancer death in Ethiopia reached 1040 (0.16%) from all cancer deaths. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), primary liver cancer causes the death of around 700,000 people each year worldwide and this makes it the third leading cause of cancer death. HCC is occurred due to cirrhosis and hepatitis B or C viruses. Liver cancer mostly diagnosed with a computed tomography (CT) scan. But, the detection of the tumor from the CT scan image is difficult since tumors have similar intensity with nearby tissues and may have a different appearance depending on their type, state, and equipment setting. Nowadays deep learning methods have been used for the segmentation of liver and its tumor from the CT scan images and they are more efficient than those traditional methods. But, they are computationally expensive and need many labeled samples for training, which are difficult in the case of biomedical images.

Results: A deep learning-based segmentation algorithm is employed for liver and tumor segmentation from abdominal CT scan images. Three separate UNet models, one for liver segmentation and the others two for tumor segmentation from the segmented liver and directly from the abdominal CT scan image were used. A dice score of 0.96 was obtained for liver segmentation. And a dice score of 0.74 and 0.63 was obtained for segmentation of tumor from the liver and from abdominal CT scan image respectively.

Conclusion: The research improves the liver tumor segmentation that will help the physicians in the diagnosis and detection of liver tumors and in designing a treatment plan for the patient. And for the patient, it increases the patients’ chance of getting treatment and decrease the mortality rate due to liver cancer.

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