Computer-aided detection of brain metastases in T1-weighted MRI for stereotactic radiosurgery using deep learning single-shot detectors

Zijian Zhou, Jeremiah W. Sanders, Jason M. Johnson, Maria K. Gule-Monroe, Melissa M. Chen, Tina M. Briere, Yan Wang, Jong Bum Son, Mark D. Pagel, Jing Li, Jingfei Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Background: Brain metastases are manually identified during stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) treatment planning, which is time consuming and potentially challenging. Purpose: To develop and investigate deep learning (DL) methods for detecting brain metastasis with MRI to aid in treatment planning for SRS. Materials and Methods: In this retrospective study, contrast material–enhanced three-dimensional T1-weighted gradient-echo MRI scans from patients who underwent gamma knife SRS from January 2011 to August 2018 were analyzed. Brain metastases were manually identified and contoured by neuroradiologists and treating radiation oncologists. DL single-shot detector (SSD) algorithms were constructed and trained to map axial MRI slices to a set of bounding box predictions encompassing metastases and associated detection confidences. Performances of different DL SSDs were compared for per-lesion metastasis-based detection sensitivity and positive predictive value (PPV) at a 50% confidence threshold. For the highest-performing model, detection performance was analyzed by using free-response receiver operating characteristic analysis. Results: Two hundred sixty-six patients (mean age, 60 years 6 14 [standard deviation]; 148 women) were randomly split into 80% training and 20% testing groups (212 and 54 patients, respectively). For the testing group, sensitivity of the highest-performing (baseline) SSD was 81% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 80%, 82%; 190 of 234) and PPV was 36% (95% CI: 35%, 37%; 190 of 530). For metastases measuring at least 6 mm, sensitivity was 98% (95% CI: 97%, 99%; 130 of 132) and PPV was 36% (95% CI: 35%, 37%; 130 of 366). Other models (SSD with a ResNet50 backbone, SSD with focal loss, and RetinaNet) yielded lower sensitivities of 73% (95% CI: 72%, 74%; 171 of 234), 77% (95% CI: 76%, 78%; 180 of 234), and 79% (95% CI: 77%, 81%; 184 of 234), respectively, and lower PPVs of 29% (95% CI: 28%, 30%; 171 of 581), 26% (95% CI: 26%, 26%; 180 of 681), and 13% (95% CI: 12%, 14%; 184 of 1412). Conclusion: Deep-learning single-shot detector models detected nearly all brain metastases that were 6 mm or larger with limited false-positive findings using postcontrast T1-weighted MRI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-415
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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