Korean J Radiol.  2021 Jun;22(6):983-993. 10.3348/kjr.2020.0988.

Cycle-Consistent Generative Adversarial Network: Effect on Radiation Dose Reduction and Image Quality Improvement in Ultralow-Dose CT for Evaluation of Pulmonary Tuberculosis

  • 1Department of Medical Imaging Center, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China
  • 2The D-Lab, Department of Precision Medicine, GROW-School for Oncology and Developmental Biology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  • 3Clinical and Technical Solution, Philips Healthcare, Guangzhou, China
  • 4Department of Hematology, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China
  • 5Jiangsu JITRI Sioux Technologies Co., Ltd., Suzhou, China
  • 6Department of Radiology and Nuclear Imaging, GROW-School for Oncology and Developmental Biology, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, The Netherlands


To investigate the image quality of ultralow-dose CT (ULDCT) of the chest reconstructed using a cycle-consistent generative adversarial network (CycleGAN)-based deep learning method in the evaluation of pulmonary tuberculosis.
Materials and Methods
Between June 2019 and November 2019, 103 patients (mean age, 40.8 ± 13.6 years; 61 men and 42 women) with pulmonary tuberculosis were prospectively enrolled to undergo standard-dose CT (120 kVp with automated exposure control), followed immediately by ULDCT (80 kVp and 10 mAs). The images of the two successive scans were used to train the CycleGAN framework for image-to-image translation. The denoising efficacy of the CycleGAN algorithm was compared with that of hybrid and model-based iterative reconstruction. Repeated-measures analysis of variance and Wilcoxon signedrank test were performed to compare the objective measurements and the subjective image quality scores, respectively.
With the optimized CycleGAN denoising model, using the ULDCT images as input, the peak signal-to-noise ratio and structural similarity index improved by 2.0 dB and 0.21, respectively. The CycleGAN-generated denoised ULDCT images typically provided satisfactory image quality for optimal visibility of anatomic structures and pathological findings, with a lower level of image noise (mean ± standard deviation [SD], 19.5 ± 3.0 Hounsfield unit [HU]) than that of the hybrid (66.3 ± 10.5 HU, p < 0.001) and a similar noise level to model-based iterative reconstruction (19.6 ± 2.6 HU, p > 0.908). The CycleGAN-generated images showed the highest contrast-to-noise ratios for the pulmonary lesions, followed by the model-based and hybrid iterative reconstruction. The mean effective radiation dose of ULDCT was 0.12 mSv with a mean 93.9% reduction compared to standard-dose CT.
The optimized CycleGAN technique may allow the synthesis of diagnostically acceptable images from ULDCT of the chest for the evaluation of pulmonary tuberculosis.


Computed tomography; Radiation dose; Infection; Artificial intelligence; Deep learning
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