Evaluation of motion correction for clinical dynamic contrast enhanced MRI of the liver

Jansen, M. J.A., Kuijf, H. J., Veldhuis, W. B., Wessels, F. J., Van Leeuwen, M. S., Pluim, J. P.W.


Physics in Medicine and Biology 62 (19), p. 7556-7568


Motion correction of 4D dynamic contrast enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI) series is required for diagnostic evaluation of liver lesions. The registration, however, is a challenging task, owing to rapid changes in image appearance. In this study, two different registration approaches are compared; a conventional pairwise method applying mutual information as metric and a groupwise method applying a principal component analysis based metric, introduced by Huizinga et al (2016). The pairwise method transforms the individual 3D images one by one to a reference image, whereas the groupwise registration method computes the metric on all the images simultaneously, exploiting the temporal information, and transforms all 3D images to a common space. The performance of the two registration methods was evaluated using 70 clinical 4D DCE-MRI series with the focus on the liver. The evaluation was based on the smoothness of the time intensity curves in lesions, lesion volume change after deformation and the smoothness of spatial deformation. Furthermore, the visual quality of subtraction images (pre-contrast image subtracted from the post contrast images) before and after registration was rated by two observers. Both registration methods improved the alignment of the DCE-MRI images in comparison to the non-corrected series. Furthermore, the groupwise method achieved better temporal alignment with smoother spatial deformations than the pairwise method. The quality of the subtraction images was graded satisfactory in 32% of the cases without registration and in 77% and 80% of the cases after pairwise and groupwise registration, respectively. In conclusion, the groupwise registration method outperforms the pairwise registration method and achieves clinically satisfying results. Registration leads to improved subtraction images.