Normal and Abnormal Tissue Classification in Positron Emission Tomography Oncological Studies

Albert Comelli, Alessandro Stefano, Giorgio Russo, Comelli, Viviana Benfante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging is increasingly used in radiotherapy environment as well as for staging and assessing treatment response. The ability to classify PET tissues, as normal versus abnormal tissues, is crucial for medical analysis and interpretation. For this reason, a system for classifying PET area is implemented and validated. The proposed classification is carried out using k-nearest neighbor (KNN) method with the stratified K-Fold Cross-Validation strategy to enhance the classifier reliability. A dataset of eighty oncological patients are collected for system training and validation. For every patient, lesion (abnormal tissue) and background (normal tissue around the lesion) are contoured on PET images using a semi-automatic method. Then 160 vectors are obtained to train and validate the KNN. Each vector is composed by thirty Standardized Uptake Values (SUVs) characterizing the area under investigation (lesion or background). In one case, vectors are labeled as normal or abnormal tissues by a nuclear medicine physician using a semi-automatic method; in other cases, Fuzzy C-means (FCM) and k-means are used for labelling vectors in an unsupervised manner. This study aims to evaluate the performance of the proposed classifier comparing it to the Linear Kernel Support Vector Machine (KSVM). The method accuracy is evaluated by comparison with the gold standard in terms of correct classification. Experimental results show that the KNN method achieves the highest classification accuracy using the semi-automatic labelling training (Sensitivity: 86.25%; Specificity: 90.00%; Negative Predictive Value: 88.37%; Precision: 89.81%; Accuracy: 88.12%; Error: 11.87%). In addition, the proposed method shows real-time performance; it could be applied to the field classification of PET images assisting physicians into discrimination of normal and abnormal tissue during radiation treatment planning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-113
Number of pages8
JournalPattern Recognition and Image Analysis
Publication statusPublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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