Automated identification of brain tumors from single MR images based on segmentation with refined patient-specific priors

Ana Sanjuán, Cathy J. Price, Laura Mancini, Goulven Josse, Alice Grogan, Adam K. Yamamoto, Sharon Geva, Alex P. Leff, Tarek A. Yousry, Mohamed L. Seghier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Brain tumors can have different shapes or locations, making their identification very challenging. In functional MRI, it is not unusual that patients have only one anatomical image due to time and financial constraints. Here, we provide a modified automatic lesion identification (ALI) procedure which enables brain tumor identification from single MR images. Our method rests on (A) a modified segmentation-normalization procedure with an explicit "extra prior" for the tumor and (B) an outlier detection procedure for abnormal voxel (i.e., tumor) classification. To minimize tissue misclassification, the segmentation-normalization procedure requires prior information of the tumor location and extent. We therefore propose that ALI is run iteratively so that the output of Step B is used as a patient-specific prior in Step A. We test this procedure on real T1-weighted images from 18 patients, and the results were validated in comparison to two independent observers' manual tracings. The automated procedure identified the tumors successfully with an excellent agreement with the manual segmentation (area under the ROC curve = 0.97 ± 0.03). The proposed procedure increases the flexibility and robustness of the ALI tool and will be particularly useful for lesion-behavior mapping studies, or when lesion identification and/or spatial normalization are problematic.

Original languageBritish English
Article number241
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Issue number7 DEC
StatePublished - 2013


  • Automatic lesion identification
  • Fuzzy clustering
  • MRI
  • Segmentation
  • Spatial normalization


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