Fusion of contrast-enhanced breast MR and mammographic imaging data.
Behrenbruch CP., Marias K., Armitage PA., Yam M., Moore N., English RE., Clarke J., Brady M.
Increasing use is being made of Gd-DTPA contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging for breast cancer assessment since it provides 3D functional information via pharmacokinetic interaction between contrast agent and tumour vascularity, and because it is applicable to women of all ages as well as patients with post-operative scarring. Contrast-enhanced MRI (CE-MRI) is complementary to conventional X-ray mammography, since it is a relatively low-resolution functional counterpart of a comparatively high-resolution 2D structural representation. However, despite the additional information provided by MRI, mammography is still an extremely important diagnostic imaging modality, particularly for several common conditions such as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) where it has been shown that there is a strong correlation between microcalcification clusters and malignancy. Pathological indicators such as calcifications and fine spiculations are not visible in CE-MRI and therefore there is clinical and diagnostic value in fusing the high-resolution structural information available from mammography with the functional data acquired from MRI imaging. This paper presents a novel data fusion technique whereby medial-lateral oblique (MLO) and cranial-caudal (CC) mammograms (2D data) are registered to 3D contrast-enhanced MRI volumes. We utilise a combination of pharmacokinetic modelling, projection geometry, wavelet-based landmark detection and thin-plate spline non-rigid 'warping' to transform the coordinates of regions of interest (ROIs) from the 2D mammograms to the spatial reference frame of the contrast-enhanced MRI volume. Of key importance is the use of a flexible wavelet-based feature extraction technique that enables feature correspondences to be robustly determined between the very different image characteristics of X-ray mammography and MRI. An evaluation of the fusion framework is demonstrated with a series of clinical cases and a total of 14 patient examples.