Med Phys 2013 Jun;40(6):061906
Department of Radiology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.
Purpose: The aim of this study was to compare three demons registration-based methods to identify spatially matched regions in serial computed tomography (CT) scans for use in texture analysis.
Methods: Two thoracic CT scans containing no lung abnormalities and acquired during serial examinations separated by at least one week were retrospectively collected from 27 patients. Over 1000 regions of interest (ROIs) were randomly placed in the lungs of each baseline scan. Anatomically matched ROIs in the corresponding follow-up scan were placed by mapping the baseline scan ROI center pixel to (1) the original follow-up scan, (2) the follow-up scan resampled to match the baseline scan voxel size, and (3) the follow-up scan aligned to the baseline scan through affine registration. Mappings used the vector field obtained through demons deformable registration of each follow-up scan variant to the baseline scan. 140 texture features distributed among five feature classes were calculated in all ROIs. Feature value differences between paired ROIs were evaluated using Bland-Altman 95% limits of agreement. For each feature, (1) the mean feature value change and (2) the difference between the upper and lower limits of agreement were normalized to the mean feature value to obtain, respectively, the normalized bias and normalized range of agreement (nRoA). Nonparametric tests were used to evaluate differences in normalized bias and nRoA across the three methods.
Results: Because patient CT scans contained no pathology, minimal changes in feature values were expected (i.e., low nRoA and normalized bias). Seventy-five features with very large feature value variability (nRoA ≥ 100%) were excluded from further analysis. Across the remaining 65 features, significant differences in normalized bias were observed among the three methods. The lowest normalized bias (median: 0.06%) was achieved when feature values were calculated on original follow-up scans. The affine registration method achieved the lowest nRoA, though nRoA was not significantly increased using original follow-up scans. Features with low nRoA values also had low normalized bias, though the converse was not necessarily true. Using nRoA as a metric, a set of 20 features having both low nRoA and normalized bias were identified.
Conclusions: Three methods to facilitate texture analysis of serial CT scans using demons registration for ROI placement were evaluated. The bias in feature value change between matched ROIs was minimized when feature values were calculated on original baseline and follow-up scans. A set of features that had both low bias and variability (nRoA) in feature value change using this method were identified. This texture analysis approach could facilitate future measurement of pathologic changes between CT scans without necessitating calculation of feature values on deformed scans.