Enhancement pattern mapping technique for improving contrast-to-noise ratios and detectability of hepatobiliary tumors on multiphase computed tomography

Peter C. Park, Gye W. Choi, Mohamed M. Zaid, Dalia Elganainy, Danyal A. Smani, John Tomich, Ray Samaniego, Jingfei Ma, Eric P. Tamm, Sam Beddar, Eugene J. Koay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Currently, radiologists use tumor-to-normal tissue contrast across multiphase computed tomography (MPCT) for lesion detection. Here, we developed a novel voxel-based enhancement pattern mapping (EPM) technique and investigated its ability to improve contrast-to-noise ratios (CNRs) in a phantom study and in patients with hepatobiliary cancers.

METHODS: The EPM algorithm is based on the root mean square deviation between each voxel and a normal liver enhancement model using patient-specific (EPM-PA) or population data (EPM-PO). We created a phantom consisting of liver tissue and tumors with distinct enhancement signals under varying tumor sizes, motion, and noise. We also retrospectively evaluated 89 patients with hepatobiliary cancers who underwent active breath-hold MPCT between 2016 and 2017. MPCT phases were registered using a three-dimensional deformable image registration algorithm. For the patient study, CNRs of tumor to adjacent tissue across MPCT phases, EPM-PA and EPM-PO were measured and compared.

RESULTS: EPM resulted in statistically significant CNR improvement (P < 0.05) for tumor sizes down to 3 mm, but the CNR improvement was significantly affected by tumor motion and image noise. Eighty-two of 89 hepatobiliary cases showed CNR improvement with EPM (PA or PO) over grayscale MPCT, by an average factor of 1.4, 1.6, and 1.5 for cholangiocarcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, and colorectal liver metastasis, respectively (P < 0.05 for all).

CONCLUSIONS: EPM increases CNR compared with grayscale MPCT for primary and secondary hepatobiliary cancers. This new visualization method derived from MPCT datasets may have applications for early cancer detection, radiomic characterization, tumor treatment response, and segmentation.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PATIENT CARE: We developed a voxel-wise enhancement pattern mapping (EPM) technique to improve the contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) of multiphase CT. The improvement in CNR was observed in datasets of patients with cholangiocarcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, and colorectal liver metastasis. EPM has the potential to be clinically useful for cancers with regard to early detection, radiomic characterization, response, and segmentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-74
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • CT
  • abdomen/GI
  • bile ducts
  • computer applications-detection/diagnosis
  • liver
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Signal-To-Noise Ratio
  • Male
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Digestive System Neoplasms/diagnostic imaging
  • Algorithms
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted/methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Phantoms, Imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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