Investigation of a Novel Deep Learning-Based Computed Tomography Perfusion Mapping Framework for Functional Lung Avoidance Radiotherapy

Ge Ren, Sai Kit Lam, Jiang Zhang, Haonan Xiao, Andy Lai yin Cheung, Wai Yin Ho, Jing Qin, Jing Cai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Functional lung avoidance radiation therapy aims to minimize dose delivery to the normal lung tissue while favoring dose deposition in the defective lung tissue based on the regional function information. However, the clinical acquisition of pulmonary functional images is resource-demanding, inconvenient, and technically challenging. This study aims to investigate the deep learning-based lung functional image synthesis from the CT domain. Forty-two pulmonary macro-aggregated albumin SPECT/CT perfusion scans were retrospectively collected from the hospital. A deep learning-based framework (including image preparation, image processing, and proposed convolutional neural network) was adopted to extract features from 3D CT images and synthesize perfusion as estimations of regional lung function. Ablation experiments were performed to assess the effects of each framework component by removing each element of the framework and analyzing the testing performances. Major results showed that the removal of the CT contrast enhancement component in the image processing resulted in the largest drop in framework performance, compared to the optimal performance (~12%). In the CNN part, all the three components (residual module, ROI attention, and skip attention) were approximately equally important to the framework performance; removing one of them resulted in a 3–5% decline in performance. The proposed CNN improved ~4% overall performance and ~350% computational efficiency, compared to the U-Net model. The deep convolutional neural network, in conjunction with image processing for feature enhancement, is capable of feature extraction from CT images for pulmonary perfusion synthesis. In the proposed framework, image processing, especially CT contrast enhancement, plays a crucial role in the perfusion synthesis. This CTPM framework provides insights for relevant research studies in the future and enables other researchers to leverage for the development of optimized CNN models for functional lung avoidance radiation therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number644703
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2021


  • CT based image analysis
  • deep learning
  • functional lung avoidance radiation therapy
  • lung function imaging
  • perfusion imaging
  • perfusion synthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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