Accurate segmentation and delineation of the sub-tumor regions are very challenging tasks due to the nature of the tumor. Traditionally, convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have succeeded in achieving most promising performance for the segmentation of brain tumor; however, handcrafted features remain very important in identification of tumor’s boundary regions accurately. The present work proposes a robust deep learning-based model with three different CNN architectures along with pre-defined handcrafted features for brain tumor segmentation, mainly to find out more prominent boundaries of the core and enhanced tumor regions. Generally, automatic CNN architecture does not use the pre-defined handcrafted features because it extracts the features automatically. In this present work, several pre-defined handcrafted features are computed from four MRI modalities (T2, FLAIR, T1c, and T1) with the help of additional handcrafted masks according to user interest and fed to the convolutional features (automatic features) to improve the overall performance of the proposed CNN model for tumor segmentation. Multi-pathway CNN is explored in this present work along with single-pathway CNN, which extracts simultaneously both local and global features to identify the accurate sub-regions of the tumor with the help of handcrafted features. The present work uses a cascaded CNN architecture, where the outcome of a CNN is considered as an additional input information to next subsequent CNNs. To extract the handcrafted features, convolutional operation was applied on the four MRI modalities with the help of several pre-defined masks to produce a predefined set of handcrafted features. The present work also investigates the usefulness of intensity normalization and data augmentation in pre-processing stage in order to handle the difficulties related to the imbalance of tumor labels. The proposed method is experimented on the BraST 2018 datasets and achieved promising results than the existing (currently published) methods with respect to different metrics such as specificity, sensitivity, and dice similarity coefficient (DSC) for complete, core, and enhanced tumor regions. Quantitatively, a notable gain is achieved around the boundaries of the sub-tumor regions using the proposed two-pathway CNN along with the handcrafted features. Graphical Abstract This data is mandatory. Please provide.
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