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Logo of bmcmiBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Medical Imaging
BMC Med Imaging. 2012; 12: 17.
Published online 2012 July 19. doi:  10.1186/1471-2342-12-17
PMCID: PMC3428663

Improved assessment of multiple sclerosis lesion segmentation agreement via detection and outline error estimates



Presented is the method “Detection and Outline Error Estimates” (DOEE) for assessing rater agreement in the delineation of multiple sclerosis (MS) lesions. The DOEE method divides operator or rater assessment into two parts: 1) Detection Error (DE) -- rater agreement in detecting the same regions to mark, and 2) Outline Error (OE) -- agreement of the raters in outlining of the same lesion.


DE, OE and Similarity Index (SI) values were calculated for two raters tested on a set of 17 fluid-attenuated inversion-recovery (FLAIR) images of patients with MS. DE, OE, and SI values were tested for dependence with mean total area (MTA) of the raters' Region of Interests (ROIs).


When correlated with MTA, neither DE (ρ = .056, p=.83) nor the ratio of OE to MTA (ρ = .23, p=.37), referred to as Outline Error Rate (OER), exhibited significant correlation. In contrast, SI is found to be strongly correlated with MTA (ρ = .75, p < .001). Furthermore, DE and OER values can be used to model the variation in SI with MTA.


The DE and OER indices are proposed as a better method than SI for comparing rater agreement of ROIs, which also provide specific information for raters to improve their agreement.

Keywords: Multiple sclerosis, Detection and outline error estimates, Rater agreement, Operator agreement, Metric, Jaccard Index, Similarity index, Measure, Index, Kappa, Lesion, MRI, ROI

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