Virtual clinical trials (VCTs) represent an alternative assessment paradigm that overcomes issues of dose, high cost and delay encountered in conventional clinical trials for breast cancer screening. However, to fully utilize the potential benefits of VCTs requires a machine-based observer that can rapidly and realistically process large numbers of experimental conditions. To address this, a Deep Learning Model Observer (DLMO) was developed and trained to identify lesion targets from normal tissue in small (200 x 200 pixel) image segments, as used in Alternative Forced Choice (AFC) studies. The proposed network consists of 5 convolutional layers with 2x2 kernels and ReLU (Rectified Linear Unit) activations, followed by max pooling with size equal to the size of the final feature maps and three dense layers. The class outputs weights from the final fully connected dense layer are used to consider sets of n images in an n-AFC paradigm to determine the image most likely to contain a target. To examine the DLMO performance on clinical data, a training set of 2814 normal and 2814 biopsy-confirmed malignant mass targets were used. This produced a sensitivity of 0.90 and a specificity of 0.92 when presented with a test data set of 800 previously unseen clinical images. To examine the DLMOs minimum detectable contrast, a second dataset of 630 simulated backgrounds and 630 images with simulated lesion and spherical targets (4mm and 6mm diameter), produced contrast thresholds equivalent to/better than human observer performance for spherical targets, and comparable (12 % difference) for lesion targets.
M. Alnowami, G. Mills, M. Awis, P. Elangovanr, M. Patel, M. Halling-Brown, K. C. Young, D. R. Dance, and K. Wells, "A deep learning model observer for use in alterative forced choice virtual clinical trials," Proc. SPIE 10577, Medical Imaging 2018: Image Perception, Observer Performance, and Technology Assessment, 105770Q (Presented at SPIE Medical Imaging: February 12, 2018; Published: 7 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2293209.
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