"Registration of Cervical MRI Using Multifeature Mutual Information"
Marius Staring, Uulke A. van der Heide, Stefan Klein, Max A. Viergever and Josien P.W. Pluim
Radiation therapy for cervical cancer can benefit from image registration in several ways, for example by studying the motion of organs, or by (partially) automating the delineation of the target volume and other structures of interest. In this paper, the registration of cervical data is addressed using mutual information (MI) of not only image intensity, but also features that describe local image structure. Three aspects of the registration are addressed to make this approach feasible. Firstly, instead of relying on a histogram-based estimation of mutual information, which poses problems for a larger number of features, a graph-based implementation of α-mutual information (α-MI) is employed. Secondly, the analytical derivative of α-MI is derived. This makes it possible to use a stochastic gradient descent method to solve the registration problem, which is substantially faster than non-derivative-based methods. Thirdly, the feature space is reduced by means of a principal component analysis, which also decreases the registration time. The proposed technique is compared to a standard approach, based on the mutual information of image intensity only. Experiments are performed on 93 T2-weighted MR clinical data sets acquired from 19 patients with cervical cancer. Several characteristics of the proposed algorithm are studied on a subset of 19 image pairs (one pair per patient). On the remaining data (36 image pairs, one or two pairs per patient) the median overlap is shown to improve significantly compared to standard MI from 0.85 to 0.86 for the clinical target volume (CTV, p = 2 · 10-2), from 0.75 to 0.81 for the bladder (p = 8 · 10-6) and from 0.76 to 0.77 for the rectum (p = 2 · 10-4). The registration error is improved at important tissue interfaces, such as that of the bladder with the CTV, and the interface of the rectum with the uterus and cervix.