Prostate cancer detection from model-free T1-weighted time series and diffusion imaging
The combination of Dynamic Contrast Enhanced (DCE) images with diffusion MRI has shown great potential in prostate cancer detection. The parameterization of DCE images to generate cancer markers is traditionally performed based on pharmacokinetic modeling. However, pharmacokinetic models make simplistic assumptions about the tissue perfusion process, require the knowledge of contrast agent concentration in a major artery, and the modeling process is sensitive to noise and fitting instabilities. We address this issue by extracting features directly from the DCE T1-weighted time course without modeling. In this work, we employed a set of data-driven features generated by mapping the DCE T1 time course to its principal component space, along with diffusion MRI features to detect prostate cancer. The optimal set of DCE features is extracted with sparse regularized regression through a Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO) model. We show that when our proposed features are used within the multiparametric MRI protocol to replace the pharmacokinetic parameters, the area under ROC curve is 0.91 for peripheral zone classification and 0.87 for whole gland classification. We were able to correctly classify 32 out of 35 peripheral tumor areas identified in the data when the proposed features were used with support vector machine classification. The proposed feature set was used to generate cancer likelihood maps for the prostate gland.