Automated Detection of Pancreatic Cystic Lesions on CT Using Deep Learning

Diagnostics (Basel). 2021 May 19;11(5):901. doi: 10.3390/diagnostics11050901.


Pancreatic cystic lesions (PCL) are a frequent and underreported incidental finding on CT scans and can transform into neoplasms with devastating consequences. We developed and evaluated an algorithm based on a two-step nnU-Net architecture for automated detection of PCL on CTs. A total of 543 cysts on 221 abdominal CTs were manually segmented in 3D by a radiology resident in consensus with a board-certified radiologist specialized in abdominal radiology. This information was used to train a two-step nnU-Net for detection with the performance assessed depending on lesions' volume and location in comparison to three human readers of varying experience. Mean sensitivity was 78.8 ± 0.1%. The sensitivity was highest for large lesions with 87.8% for cysts ≥220 mm3 and for lesions in the distal pancreas with up to 96.2%. The number of false-positive detections for cysts ≥220 mm3 was 0.1 per case. The algorithm's performance was comparable to human readers. To conclude, automated detection of PCL on CTs is feasible. The proposed model could serve radiologists as a second reading tool. All imaging data and code used in this study are freely available online.

Keywords: X-ray computed; artificial intelligence; deep learning; detection; intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasia; nnU-Net; pancreatic cystic lesion; tomography.