Purpose: Since breast mass is a clear sign of breast cancer, its precise segmentation is of great significance for the diagnosis of breast cancer. However, the current diagnosis relies mainly on radiologists who spend time extracting features manually, which inevitably reduces the efficiency of diagnosis. Therefore, designing an automatic segmentation method is urgently necessary for the accurate segmentation of breast masses.
Approach: We propose an effective attention mechanism and multiscale pooling conditional generative adversarial network (AM-MSP-cGAN), which accurately achieves mass automatic segmentation in whole mammograms. In AM-MSP-cGAN, U-Net is utilized as a generator network by incorporating attention mechanism (AM) into it, which allows U-Net to pay more attention to the target mass regions without additional cost. As a discriminator network, a convolutional neural network with multiscale pooling module is used to learn more meticulous features from the masses with rough and fuzzy boundaries. The proposed model is trained and tested on two public datasets: CBIS-DDSM and INbreast.
Results: Compared with other state-of-the-art methods, the AM-MSP-cGAN can achieve better segmentation results in terms of the dice similarity coefficient (Dice) and Hausdorff distance metrics, achieving top scores of 84.49% and 5.01 on CBIS-DDSM, and 83.92% and 5.81 on INbreast, respectively. Therefore, qualitative and quantitative experiments illustrate that the proposed model is effective and robust for the mass segmentation in whole mammograms.
Conclusions: The proposed deep learning model is suitable for the automatic segmentation of breast masses, which provides technical assistance for subsequent pathological structure analysis.