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Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 634907, 10 pages
Research Article

Computerized Segmentation and Characterization of Breast Lesions in Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced MR Images Using Fuzzy c-Means Clustering and Snake Algorithm

1School of Physics and Engineering, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
2Imaging Diagnosis and Interventional Center, Cancer Center, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510060, China

Received 27 February 2012; Revised 18 June 2012; Accepted 18 June 2012

Academic Editor: Huafeng Liu

Copyright © 2012 Yachun Pang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper presents a novel two-step approach that incorporates fuzzy c-means (FCMs) clustering and gradient vector flow (GVF) snake algorithm for lesions contour segmentation on breast magnetic resonance imaging (BMRI). Manual delineation of the lesions by expert MR radiologists was taken as a reference standard in evaluating the computerized segmentation approach. The proposed algorithm was also compared with the FCMs clustering based method. With a database of 60 mass-like lesions (22 benign and 38 malignant cases), the proposed method demonstrated sufficiently good segmentation performance. The morphological and texture features were extracted and used to classify the benign and malignant lesions based on the proposed computerized segmentation contour and radiologists’ delineation, respectively. Features extracted by the computerized characterization method were employed to differentiate the lesions with an area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve (AUC) of 0.968, in comparison with an AUC of 0.914 based on the features extracted from radiologists’ delineation. The proposed method in current study can assist radiologists to delineate and characterize BMRI lesion, such as quantifying morphological and texture features and improving the objectivity and efficiency of BMRI interpretation with a certain clinical value.