Parameterized Gompertz-guided Morphological AutoEncoder for Predicting Pulmonary Nodule Growth

Jiansheng Fang, Jingwen Wang, Anwei Li, Yuguang Yan, Hongbo Liu, Jiajian Li, Huifang Yang, Yonghe Hou, Xuening Yang, Ming Yang, Jiang Liu

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review


The growth rate of pulmonary nodules is a critical clue to the cancerous diagnosis. It is essential to monitor their dynamic progressions during pulmonary nodule management. To facilitate the prosperity of research on nodule growth prediction, we organized and published a temporal dataset called NLSTt with consecutive computed tomography (CT) scans. Based on the self-built dataset, we develop a visual learner to predict the growth for the following CT scan qualitatively and further propose a model to predict the growth rate of pulmonary nodules quantitatively, so that better diagnosis can be achieved with the help of our predicted results. To this end, in this work, we propose a parameterized Gempertz-guided morphological autoencoder (GM-AE) to generate any future-time-span high-quality visual appearances of pulmonary nodules from the baseline CT scan. Specifically, we parameterize a popular mathematical model for tumor growth kinetics, Gompertz, to predict future masses and volumes of pulmonary nodules. Then, we exploit the expected growth rate on the mass and volume to guide decoders generating future shape and texture of pulmonary nodules. We introduce two branches in an autoencoder to encourage shape-aware and textural-aware representation learning and integrate the generated shape into the textural-aware branch to simulate the future morphology of pulmonary nodules. We conduct extensive experiments on the self-built NLSTt dataset to demonstrate the superiority of our GM-AE to its competitive counterparts. Experiment results also reveal the learnable Gompertz function enjoys promising descriptive power in accounting for inter-subject variability of the growth rate for pulmonary nodules. Besides, we evaluate our GM-AE model on an in-house dataset to validate its generalizability and practicality. We make its code publicly available along with the published NLSTt dataset.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages1
JournalIEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • AutoEncoder
  • Computed tomography
  • Computed Tomography
  • Gompertz Function
  • Growth Prediction
  • Lung
  • Lung cancer
  • Predictive models
  • Pulmonary Nodule
  • Task analysis
  • Tumors
  • Visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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