Spatial evidential clustering with adaptive distance metric for tumor segmentation in FDG-PET images

Chunfeng Lian, Su Ruan, Thierry Denœux, Hua Li, Pierre Vera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While the accurate delineation of tumor volumes in FDG-positron emission tomography (PET) is a vital task for diverse objectives in clinical oncology, noise and blur due to the imaging system make it a challenging work. In this paper, we propose to address the imprecision and noise inherent in PET using Dempster-Shafer theory, a powerful tool for modeling and reasoning with uncertain and/or imprecise information. Based on Dempster-Shafer theory, a novel evidential clustering algorithm is proposed and tailored for the tumor segmentation task in threedimensional. For accurate clustering of PET voxels, each voxel is described not only by the single intensity value but also complementarily by textural features extracted from a patch surrounding the voxel. Considering that there are a large amount of textures without consensus regarding the most informative ones, and some of the extracted features are even unreliable due to the low-quality PET images, a specific procedure is included in the proposed clustering algorithm to adapt distance metric for properly representing the clustering distortions and the similarities between neighboring voxels. This integrated metric adaptation procedure will realize a low-dimensional transformation from the original space, and will limit the influence of unreliable inputs via feature selection. A Dempster-Shafer-theorybased spatial regularization is also proposed and included in the clustering algorithm, so as to effectively quantify the local homogeneity. The proposed method has been compared with other methods on the real-patient FDG-PET images, showing good performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-30
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptive distance metric
  • Dempster-Shafer theory (DST)
  • Evidential c-means
  • Feature selection
  • Lung tumor segmentation
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) images
  • Spatial regularization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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