Improved Classification of Benign and Malignant Breast Lesions Using Deep Feature Maximum Intensity Projection MRI in Breast Cancer Diagnosis Using Dynamic Contrast-enhanced MRI

Radiol Artif Intell. 2021 Feb 24;3(3):e200159. doi: 10.1148/ryai.2021200159. eCollection 2021 May.


Purpose: To develop a deep transfer learning method that incorporates four-dimensional (4D) information in dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) MRI to classify benign and malignant breast lesions.

Materials and methods: The retrospective dataset is composed of 1990 distinct lesions (1494 malignant and 496 benign) from 1979 women (mean age, 47 years ± 10). Lesions were split into a training and validation set of 1455 lesions (acquired in 2015-2016) and an independent test set of 535 lesions (acquired in 2017). Features were extracted from a convolutional neural network (CNN), and lesions were classified as benign or malignant using support vector machines. Volumetric information was collapsed into two dimensions by taking the maximum intensity projection (MIP) at the image level or feature level within the CNN architecture. Performances were evaluated using the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) as the figure of merit and were compared using the DeLong test.

Results: The image MIP and feature MIP methods yielded AUCs of 0.91 (95% CI: 0.87, 0.94) and 0.93 (95% CI: 0.91, 0.96), respectively, for the independent test set. The feature MIP method achieved higher performance than the image MIP method (∆AUC 95% CI: 0.003, 0.051; P = .03).

Conclusion: Incorporating 4D information in DCE MRI by MIP of features in deep transfer learning demonstrated superior classification performance compared with using MIP images as input in the task of distinguishing between benign and malignant breast lesions.Keywords: Breast, Computer Aided Diagnosis (CAD), Convolutional Neural Network (CNN), MR-Dynamic Contrast Enhanced, Supervised learning, Support vector machines (SVM), Transfer learning, Volume Analysis © RSNA, 2021.