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Lossy Image Compression in a Preclinical Multimodal Imaging Study

Cunha, F. ; Blüml, V. B. ; Zopf, L. M. Z ; Walter, A. W. ; Wagner, M. W. ; Weninger, W. J. W. ; Thomaz, L. A. ; Távora, L.M. ; Cruz, L. A. S. C. ; Faria, S.M.M.

Journal of Digital Imaging Vol. 36, Nº 4, pp. 1826 - 1850, April, 2023.

ISSN (print): 1618-727X
ISSN (online): 0897-1889

Scimago Journal Ranking: 1,05 (in 2022)

Digital Object Identifier: 10.1007/s10278-023-00800-5

The growing use of multimodal high-resolution volumetric data in pre-clinical studies leads to challenges related to the management and handling of the large amount of these datasets. Contrarily to the clinical context, currently there are no standard guidelines to regulate the use of image compression in pre-clinical contexts as a potential alleviation of this problem. In this work, the authors study the application of lossy image coding to compress high-resolution volumetric biomedical data. The impact of compression on the metrics and interpretation of volumetric data was quantified for a correlated multimodal imaging study to characterize murine tumor vasculature, using volumetric high-resolution episcopic microscopy (HREM), micro-computed tomography (µCT), and micro-magnetic resonance imaging (µMRI). The effects of compression were assessed by measuring task-specific performances of several biomedical experts who interpreted and labeled multiple data volumes compressed at different degrees. We defined trade-offs between data volume reduction and preservation of visual information, which ensured the preservation of relevant vasculature morphology at maximum compression efficiency across scales. Using the Jaccard Index (JI) and the average Hausdorff Distance (HD) after vasculature segmentation, we could demonstrate that, in this study, compression that yields to a 256-fold reduction of the data size allowed to keep the error induced by compression below the inter-observer variability, with minimal impact on the assessment of the tumor vasculature across scales.