Global guidance network for breast lesion segmentation in ultrasound images

Cheng Xue, Lei Zhu, Huazhu Fu, Xiaowei Hu, Xiaomeng Li, Hai Zhang, Pheng Ann Heng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


Automatic breast lesion segmentation in ultrasound helps to diagnose breast cancer, which is one of the dreadful diseases that affect women globally. Segmenting breast regions accurately from ultrasound image is a challenging task due to the inherent speckle artifacts, blurry breast lesion boundaries, and inhomogeneous intensity distributions inside the breast lesion regions. Recently, convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have demonstrated remarkable results in medical image segmentation tasks. However, the convolutional operations in a CNN often focus on local regions, which suffer from limited capabilities in capturing long-range dependencies of the input ultrasound image, resulting in degraded breast lesion segmentation accuracy. In this paper, we develop a deep convolutional neural network equipped with a global guidance block (GGB) and breast lesion boundary detection (BD) modules for boosting the breast ultrasound lesion segmentation. The GGB utilizes the multi-layer integrated feature map as a guidance information to learn the long-range non-local dependencies from both spatial and channel domains. The BD modules learn additional breast lesion boundary map to enhance the boundary quality of a segmentation result refinement. Experimental results on a public dataset and a collected dataset show that our network outperforms other medical image segmentation methods and the recent semantic segmentation methods on breast ultrasound lesion segmentation. Moreover, we also show the application of our network on the ultrasound prostate segmentation, in which our method better identifies prostate regions than state-of-the-art networks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101989
JournalMedical Image Analysis
Publication statusPublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast lesion segmentation
  • Deep neural network
  • Non-local features

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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