Segmentation of the whole breast from low-dose chest CT images

Shuang Liu, Mary Salvatore, David F. Yankelevitz, Claudia I. Henschke, Anthony P. Reeves

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The segmentation of whole breast serves as the first step towards automated breast lesion detection. It is also necessary for automatically assessing the breast density, which is considered to be an important risk factor for breast cancer. In this paper we present a fully automated algorithm to segment the whole breast in low-dose chest CT images (LDCT), which has been recommended as an annual lung cancer screening test. The automated whole breast segmentation and potential breast density readings as well as lesion detection in LDCT will provide useful information for women who have received LDCT screening, especially the ones who have not undergone mammographic screening, by providing them additional risk indicators for breast cancer with no additional radiation exposure. The two main challenges to be addressed are significant range of variations in terms of the shape and location of the breast in LDCT and the separation of pectoral muscles from the glandular tissues. The presented algorithm achieves robust whole breast segmentation using an anatomy directed rule-based method. The evaluation is performed on 20 LDCT scans by comparing the segmentation with ground truth manually annotated by a radiologist on one axial slice and two sagittal slices for each scan. The resulting average Dice coefficient is 0.880 with a standard deviation of 0.058, demonstrating that the automated segmentation algorithm achieves results consistent with manual annotations of a radiologist.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2015
Subtitle of host publicationComputer-Aided Diagnosis
EditorsLubomir M. Hadjiiski, Georgia D. Tourassi
ISBN (Electronic)9781628415049
StatePublished - 2015
EventSPIE Medical Imaging Symposium 2015: Computer-Aided Diagnosis - Orlando, United States
Duration: 22 Feb 201525 Feb 2015

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceSPIE Medical Imaging Symposium 2015: Computer-Aided Diagnosis
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Breast density
  • Fully automated segmentation
  • Low-dose CT images
  • Whole breast segmentation


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