PURPOSE: To evaluate the feasibility and accuracy of simulated postcontrast T1-weighted brain MR images generated by using precontrast MR images in patients with brain glioma.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this retrospective study, a three-dimensional deep convolutional neural network was developed to simulate T1-weighted postcontrast images from eight precontrast sequences in 400 patients (mean age, 57 years; 239 men; from 2015 to 2020), including 332 with glioblastoma and 68 with lower-grade gliomas. Performance was evaluated by using quantitative image similarity and error metrics and enhancing tumor overlap analysis. Performance was also assessed on a multicenter external dataset (n = 286 from the 2019 Multimodal Brain Tumor Segmentation Challenge; mean age, 60 years; ratio of men to women unknown) by using transfer learning. A subset of cases was reviewed by neuroradiologist readers to assess whether simulated images affected the ability to determine the tumor grade.
RESULTS: Simulated whole-brain postcontrast images were both qualitatively and quantitatively similar to the real postcontrast images in terms of quantitative image similarity (structural similarity index of 0.84 ± 0.05), pixelwise error (symmetric mean absolute percent error of 3.65%), and enhancing tumor compartment overlap (Dice coefficient, 0.65 ± 0.25). Similar results were achieved with the external dataset (Dice coefficient, 0.62 ± 0.27). There was no difference in the ability of the neuroradiologist readers to determine the tumor grade in real versus simulated images (accuracy, 87.7% vs 90.6%; P = .87).
CONCLUSION: The developed model was capable of producing simulated postcontrast T1-weighted MR images that were similar to real acquired images as determined by both quantitative analysis and radiologist assessment.Keywords: MR-Contrast Agent, MR-Imaging, CNS, Brain/Brain Stem, Contrast Agents-Intravenous, Neoplasms-Primary, Experimental Investigations, Technology Assessment, Supervised Learning, Transfer Learning, Convolutional Neural Network, Deep Learning Algorithms, Machine Learning Algorithms Supplemental material is available for this article. © RSNA, 2021.