Investigation of new psychophysical measures for evaluation of similar images on thoracic computed tomography for distinction between benign and malignant nodules

Med Phys. 2003 Oct;30(10):2584-93. doi: 10.1118/1.1605351.


We have been developing a computerized scheme to assist radiologists in improving the diagnostic accuracy for lung cancers on low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scans by use of similar images for malignant nodules and benign nodules. A database of 415 LDCT scans including 73 cases with 76 confirmed cancers and 342 cases with 413 confirmed benign nodules was first collected in an LDCT screening program for early detection of lung cancers in Nagano, Japan. An observer study by use of receiver operating characteristics analysis was first conducted with five radiologists to demonstrate that presenting similar images for malignant nodules and benign nodules can significantly improve radiologists' performance in the diagnosis of unknown nodules. Another observer study was then conducted for obtaining reliable data on subjective similarity ratings by 10 radiologists. Based on the subjective similarity ratings, three important features were selected from a number of nodule features, and four different techniques for the determination of similarity measures, namely, a feature-based technique, a pixel-value-difference based technique, a cross-correlation-based technique, and a neural-network-based technique, were investigated and evaluated in terms of the correlation coefficient with the subjective similarity ratings. The experimental results in this study indicated that the neural-network-based technique can provide a reliable psychophysical similarity measure which is comparable to the subjective similarity ratings for a single radiologist when evaluated by use of correlation with the average similarity ratings for the other nine radiologists.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Mobile Health Units
  • Models, Statistical
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Observer Variation
  • ROC Curve
  • Radiography, Thoracic / methods*
  • Thoracic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Thoracic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed