A dual-supervised deformation estimation model (DDEM) for constructing ultra-quality 4D-MRI based on a commercial low-quality 4D-MRI for liver cancer radiation therapy

Haonan Xiao, Ruiyan Ni, Shaohua Zhi, Wen Li, Chenyang Liu, Ge Ren, Xinzhi Teng, Weiwei Liu, Weihu Wang, Yibao Zhang, Hao Wu, Ho Fun Victor Lee, Lai Yin Andy Cheung, Hing Chiu Charles Chang, Tian Li, Jing Cai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Most available four-dimensional (4D)-magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques are limited by insufficient image quality and long acquisition times or require specially designed sequences or hardware that are not available in the clinic. These limitations have greatly hindered the clinical implementation of 4D-MRI. Purpose: This study aims to develop a fast ultra-quality (UQ) 4D-MRI reconstruction method using a commercially available 4D-MRI sequence and dual-supervised deformation estimation model (DDEM). Methods: Thirty-nine patients receiving radiotherapy for liver tumors were included. Each patient was scanned using a time-resolved imaging with interleaved stochastic trajectories (TWIST)–lumetric interpolated breath-hold examination (VIBE) MRI sequence to acquire 4D-magnetic resonance (MR) images. They also received 3D T1-/T2-weighted MRI scans as prior images, and UQ 4D-MRI at any instant was considered a deformation of them. A DDEM was developed to obtain a 4D deformable vector field (DVF) from 4D-MRI data, and the prior images were deformed using this 4D-DVF to generate UQ 4D-MR images. The registration accuracies of the DDEM, VoxelMorph (normalized cross-correlation [NCC] supervised), VoxelMorph (end-to-end point error [EPE] supervised), and the parametric total variation (pTV) algorithm were compared. Tumor motion on UQ 4D-MRI was evaluated quantitatively using region of interest (ROI) tracking errors, while image quality was evaluated using the contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR), lung–liver edge sharpness, and perceptual blur metric (PBM). Results: The registration accuracy of the DDEM was significantly better than those of VoxelMorph (NCC supervised), VoxelMorph (EPE supervised), and the pTV algorithm (all, p < 0.001), with an inference time of 69.3 ± 5.9 ms. UQ 4D-MRI yielded ROI tracking errors of 0.79 ± 0.65, 0.50 ± 0.55, and 0.51 ± 0.58 mm in the superior–inferior, anterior–posterior, and mid–lateral directions, respectively. From the original 4D-MRI to UQ 4D-MRI, the CNR increased from 7.25 ± 4.89 to 18.86 ± 15.81; the lung–liver edge full-width-at-half-maximum decreased from 8.22 ± 3.17 to 3.65 ± 1.66 mm in the in-plane direction and from 8.79 ± 2.78 to 5.04 ± 1.67 mm in the cross-plane direction, and the PBM decreased from 0.68 ± 0.07 to 0.38 ± 0.01. Conclusion: This novel DDEM method successfully generated UQ 4D-MR images based on a commercial 4D-MRI sequence. It shows great promise for improving liver tumor motion management during radiation therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3159-3170
Number of pages12
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • 4D-MRI
  • deep learning
  • deformable image registration
  • motion management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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