Population-based deep image prior for dynamic PET denoising: A data-driven approach to improve parametric quantification

Medical Image Analysis(2024)

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The high noise level of dynamic Positron Emission Tomography (PET) images degrades the quality of parametric images. In this study, we aim to improve the quality and quantitative accuracy of Ki images by utilizing deep learning techniques to reduce the noise in dynamic PET images. We propose a novel denoising technique, Population-based Deep Image Prior (PDIP), which integrates population-based prior information into the optimization process of Deep Image Prior (DIP). Specifically, the population-based prior image is generated from a supervised denoising model that is trained on a prompts-matched static PET dataset comprising 100 clinical studies. The 3D U-Net architecture is employed for both the supervised model and the following DIP optimization process. We evaluated the efficacy of PDIP for noise reduction in 25%-count and 100%-count dynamic PET images from 23 patients by comparing with two other baseline techniques: the Prompts-matched Supervised model (PS) and a conditional DIP (CDIP) model that employs the mean static PET image as the prior. Both the PS and CDIP models show effective noise reduction but result in smoothing and removal of small lesions. In addition, the utilization of a single static image as the prior in the CDIP model also introduces a similar tracer distribution to the denoised dynamic frames, leading to lower Ki in general as well as incorrect Ki in the descending aorta. By contrast, as the proposed PDIP model utilizes intrinsic image features from the dynamic dataset and a large clinical static dataset, it not only achieves comparable noise reduction as the supervised and CDIP models but also improves lesion Ki predictions.
Dynamic PET,Noise reduction,Parametric imaging,Deep image prior
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