Multi-resolution super learner for voxel-wise classification of prostate cancer using multi-parametric MRI

Jin Jin, Lin Zhang, Ethan Leng, Gregory J. Metzger, Joseph S. Koopmeiners

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Multi-parametric MRI (mpMRI) is a critical tool in prostate cancer (PCa) diagnosis and management. To further advance the use of mpMRI in patient care, computer aided diagnostic methods are under continuous development for supporting/supplanting standard radiological interpretation. While voxel-wise PCa classification models are the gold standard, few if any approaches have incorporated the inherent structure of the mpMRI data, such as spatial heterogeneity and between-voxel correlation, into PCa classification. We propose a machine learning-based method to fill in this gap. Our method uses an ensemble learning approach to capture regional heterogeneity in the data, where classifiers are developed at multiple resolutions and combined using the super learner algorithm, and further account for between-voxel correlation through a Gaussian kernel smoother. It allows any type of classifier to be the base learner and can be extended to further classify PCa sub-categories. We introduce the algorithms for binary PCa classification, as well as for classifying the ordinal clinical significance of PCa for which a weighted likelihood approach is implemented to improve the detection of less prevalent cancer categories. The proposed method has shown important advantages over conventional modeling and machine learning approaches in simulations and application to our motivating patient data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)805-826
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Applied Statistics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Multi-parametric MRI
  • multi-resolution modeling
  • ordinal clinical significance of PCa
  • super learner
  • voxel-wise PCa classification

Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR) tags

  • IRP
  • BI
  • P41

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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