Large scale deep learning for computer aided detection of mammographic lesions

Med Image Anal. 2017 Jan:35:303-312. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2016 Aug 2.


Recent advances in machine learning yielded new techniques to train deep neural networks, which resulted in highly successful applications in many pattern recognition tasks such as object detection and speech recognition. In this paper we provide a head-to-head comparison between a state-of-the art in mammography CAD system, relying on a manually designed feature set and a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN), aiming for a system that can ultimately read mammograms independently. Both systems are trained on a large data set of around 45,000 images and results show the CNN outperforms the traditional CAD system at low sensitivity and performs comparable at high sensitivity. We subsequently investigate to what extent features such as location and patient information and commonly used manual features can still complement the network and see improvements at high specificity over the CNN especially with location and context features, which contain information not available to the CNN. Additionally, a reader study was performed, where the network was compared to certified screening radiologists on a patch level and we found no significant difference between the network and the readers.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Computer aided detection; Convolutional neural networks; Deep learning; Machine learning; Mammography.

MeSH terms

  • Breast / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Machine Learning*
  • Mammography / methods*
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity