Synthesis of Thoracic Computer Tomography Images using Generative Adversarial Networks
Abstract: The use of machine learning algorithms to enhance and facilitate medical diagnosis and analysis is a promising and an important area, which could improve the workload of clinicians’ substantially. In order for machine learning algorithms to learn a certain task, large amount of data needs to be available. Data sets for medical image analysis are rarely public due to restrictions concerning the sharing of patient data. The production of synthetic images could act as an anonymization tool to enable the distribution of medical images and facilitate the training of machine learning algorithms, which could be used in practice. This thesis investigates the use of Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN) for synthesis of new thoracic computer tomography (CT) images, with no connection to real patients. It also examines the usefulness of the images by comparing the quantitative performance of a segmentation network trained with the synthetic images with the quantitative performance of the same segmentation network trained with real thoracic CT images. The synthetic thoracic CT images were generated using CycleGAN for image-to-image translation between label map ground truth images and thoracic CT images. The synthetic images were evaluated using different set-ups of synthetic and real images for training the segmentation network. All set-ups were evaluated according to sensitivity, accuracy, Dice and F2-score and compared to the same parameters evaluated from a segmentation network trained with 344 real images. The thesis shows that it was possible to generate synthetic thoracic CT images using GAN. However, it was not possible to achieve an equal quantitative performance of a segmentation network trained with synthetic data compared to a segmentation network trained with the same amount of real images in the scope of this thesis. It was possible to achieve equal quantitative performance of a segmentation network, as a segmentation network trained on real images, by training it with a combination of real and synthetic images, where a majority of the images were synthetic images and a minority were real images. By using a combination of 59 real images and 590 synthetic images, equal performance as a segmentation network trained with 344 real images was achieved regarding sensitivity, Dice and F2-score. Equal quantitative performance of a segmentation network could thus be achieved by using fewer real images together with an abundance of synthetic images, created at close to no cost, indicating a usefulness of synthetically generated images.
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