Post-Processing Bias Field Inhomogeneity Correction for Assessing Background Parenchymal Enhancement on Breast MRI as a Quantitative Marker of Treatment Response

Nguyen AA-T, Onishi N, Carmona-Bozo J, Li W, Kornak J, Newitt DC, Hylton NM

Background parenchymal enhancement (BPE) of breast fibroglandular tissue (FGT) in dynamic contrast-enhanced breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has shown an association with response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) in patients with breast cancer. Fully automated segmentation of FGT for BPE calculation is a challenge when image artifacts are present. Low spatial frequency intensity nonuniformity due to coil sensitivity variations is known as bias or inhomogeneity and can affect FGT segmentation and subsequent BPE measurement. In this study, we utilized the N4ITK algorithm for bias correction over a restricted bilateral breast volume and compared the contralateral FGT segmentations based on uncorrected and bias-corrected images in three MRI examinations at pre-treatment, early treatment and inter-regimen timepoints during NAC. A retrospective analysis of 2 cohorts was performed: one with 735 patients enrolled in the multi-center I-SPY 2 TRIAL and the sub-cohort of 340 patients meeting a high-quality benchmark for segmentation. Bias correction substantially increased the FGT segmentation quality for 6.3–8.0% of examinations, while it substantially decreased the quality for no examination. Our results showed improvement in segmentation quality and a small but statistically significant increase in the resulting BPE measurement after bias correction at all timepoints in both cohorts. Continuing studies are examining the effects on pCR prediction.

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