Effectiveness of temporal subtraction computed tomography images using deep learning in detecting vertebral bone metastases

Eur J Radiol. 2022 Sep:154:110445. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2022.110445. Epub 2022 Jul 20.


Purpose: To assess the clinical effectiveness of temporal subtraction computed tomography (TS CT) using deep learning to improve vertebral bone metastasis detection.

Method: This retrospective study used TS CT comprising bony landmark detection, bone segmentation with a multi-atlas-based method, and spatial registration of two images by a log-domain diffeomorphic Demons algorithm. Paired current and past CT images of 50 patients without vertebral metastasis, recorded during June 2011-September 2016, were included as training data. A deep learning-based method estimated registration errors and suppressed false positives. Thereafter, paired CT images of 40 cancer patients with newly developed vertebral metastases and 40 control patients without vertebral metastases were evaluated. Six board-certified radiologists and five radiology residents independently interpreted 80 paired CT images with and without TS CT.

Results: Records of 40 patients in the metastasis group (median age: 64.5 years; 20 males) and 40 patients in the control group (median age: 64.0 years; 20 males) were evaluated. With TS CT, the overall figure of merit (FOM) of the board-certified radiologist and resident groups improved from 0.848 to 0.876 (p = 0.01) and from 0.752 to 0.799 (p = 0.02), respectively. The sub-analysis focusing on attenuation changes in lesions revealed that the FOM of osteoblastic lesions significantly improved in both the board-certified radiologist and resident groups using TS CT. The sub-analysis focusing on lesion location showed that the FOM of the resident group significantly improved in the vertebral arch (p = 0.04).

Conclusions: TS CT was effective in detecting bone metastasis by both board-certified radiologists and radiology residents.

Keywords: Computed tomography; Deep learning; Metastasis; Spine.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone Neoplasms* / secondary
  • Deep Learning*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Subtraction Technique
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods