QACL: Quartet attention aware closed-loop learning for abdominal MR-to-CT synthesis via simultaneous registration

Liming Zhong, Zeli Chen, Hai Shu, Yikai Zheng, Yiwen Zhang, Yuankui Wu, Qianjin Feng, Yin Li, Wei Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Synthesis of computed tomography (CT) images from magnetic resonance (MR) images is an important task to overcome the lack of electron density information in MR-only radiotherapy treatment planning (RTP). Some innovative methods have been proposed for abdominal MR-to-CT synthesis. However, it is still challenging due to the large misalignment between preprocessed abdominal MR and CT images and the insufficient feature information learned by models. Although several studies have used the MR-to-CT synthesis to alleviate the difficulty of multi-modal registration, this misalignment remains unsolved when training the MR-to-CT synthesis model. In this paper, we propose an end-to-end quartet attention aware closed-loop learning (QACL) framework for MR-to-CT synthesis via simultaneous registration. Specifically, the proposed quartet attention generator and mono-modal registration network form a closed-loop to improve the performance of MR-to-CT synthesis via simultaneous registration. In particular, a quartet-attention mechanism is developed to enlarge the receptive fields in networks to extract the long-range and cross-dimension spatial dependencies. Experimental results on two independent abdominal datasets demonstrate that our QACL achieves impressive results with MAE of 55.30±10.59 HU, PSNR of 22.85±1.43 dB, and SSIM of 0.83±0.04 for synthesis, and with Dice of 0.799±0.129 for registration. The proposed QACL outperforms the state-of-the-art MR-to-CT synthesis and multi-modal registration methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102692
JournalMedical Image Analysis
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Closed-loop learning
  • Generative adversarial network
  • MR-only radiotherapy
  • Medical image synthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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