QMLS: quaternion mutual learning strategy for multi-modal brain tumor segmentation

Zhengnan Deng, Guoheng Huang, Xiaochen Yuan, Guo Zhong, Tongxu Lin, Chi Man Pun, Zhixin Huang, Zhixin Liang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. Due to non-invasive imaging and the multimodality of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images, MRI-based multi-modal brain tumor segmentation (MBTS) studies have attracted more and more attention in recent years. With the great success of convolutional neural networks in various computer vision tasks, lots of MBTS models have been proposed to address the technical challenges of MBTS. However, the problem of limited data collection usually exists in MBTS tasks, making existing studies typically have difficulty in fully exploring the multi-modal MRI images to mine complementary information among different modalities. Approach. We propose a novel quaternion mutual learning strategy (QMLS), which consists of a voxel-wise lesion knowledge mutual learning mechanism (VLKML mechanism) and a quaternion multi-modal feature learning module (QMFL module). Specifically, the VLKML mechanism allows the networks to converge to a robust minimum so that aggressive data augmentation techniques can be applied to expand the limited data fully. In particular, the quaternion-valued QMFL module treats different modalities as components of quaternions to sufficiently learn complementary information among different modalities on the hypercomplex domain while significantly reducing the number of parameters by about 75%. Main results. Extensive experiments on the dataset BraTS 2020 and BraTS 2019 indicate that QMLS achieves superior results to current popular methods with less computational cost. Significance. We propose a novel algorithm for brain tumor segmentation task that achieves better performance with fewer parameters, which helps the clinical application of automatic brain tumor segmentation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number015014
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2024


  • Brain tumor segmentation
  • Lightweight
  • Mutual learning
  • Quaternion neural networks


Dive into the research topics of 'QMLS: quaternion mutual learning strategy for multi-modal brain tumor segmentation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this