A convolutional network architecture is presented to determine bounding boxes around six organs in thoraxabdomen CT scans. A single network for each orthogonal view determines the presence of lungs, kidneys, spleen and liver. We show that an architecture that takes additional slices before and after the slice of interest as an additional input outperforms an architecture that processes single slices. From the slice-based analysis, a bounding box around the structures of interest can be computed. The system uses 6 convolutional, 4 pooling and one fully connected layer and uses 333 scans for training and 110 for validation. The test set contains 110 scans. The average Dice score of the proposed method was 0.95 and 0.95 for the lungs, 0.59 and 0.58 for the kidneys, 0.83 for the liver and 0.63 for the spleen. This paper shows that automatic localization of organs using multi-label convolution neural networks is possible. This architecture can likely be used to identify other organs of interest as well.
Computer-Aided Detection (CAD) has been shown to be a promising tool for automatic detection of pulmonary nodules from computed tomography (CT) images. However, the vast majority of detected nodules are benign and do not require any treatment. For effective implementation of lung cancer screening programs, accurate identification of malignant nodules is the key. We investigate strategies to improve the performance of a CAD system in detecting nodules with a high probability of being cancers. Two strategies were proposed: (1) combining CAD detections with a recently published lung cancer risk prediction model and (2) the combination of multiple CAD systems. First, CAD systems were used to detect the nodules. Each CAD system produces markers with a certain degree of suspicion. Next, the malignancy probability was automatically computed for each marker, given nodule characteristics measured by the CAD system. Last, CAD degree of suspicion and malignancy probability were combined using the product rule. We evaluated the method using 62 nodules which were proven to be malignant cancers, from 180 scans of the Danish Lung Cancer Screening Trial. The malignant nodules were considered as positive samples, while all other findings were considered negative. Using a product rule, the best proposed system achieved an improvement in sensitivity, compared to the best individual CAD system, from 41.9% to 72.6% at 2 false positives (FPs)/scan and from 56.5% to 88.7% at 8 FPs/scan. Our experiment shows that combining a nodule malignancy probability with multiple CAD systems can increase the performance of computerized detection of lung cancer.
We present a fully automatic method for the assessment of spiculation of pulmonary nodules in low-dose Computed Tomography (CT) images. Spiculation is considered as one of the indicators of nodule malignancy and an important feature to assess in order to decide on a patient-tailored follow-up procedure. For this reason, lung cancer screening scenario would benefit from the presence of a fully automatic system for the assessment of spiculation. The presented framework relies on the fact that spiculated nodules mainly differ from non-spiculated ones in their morphology. In order to discriminate the two categories, information on morphology is captured by sampling intensity profiles along circular patterns on spherical surfaces centered on the nodule, in a multi-scale fashion. Each intensity profile is interpreted as a periodic signal, where the Fourier transform is applied, obtaining a spectrum. A library of spectra is created by clustering data via unsupervised learning. The centroids of the clusters are used to label back each spectrum in the sampling pattern. A compact descriptor encoding the nodule morphology is obtained as the histogram of labels along all the spherical surfaces and used to classify spiculated nodules via supervised learning. We tested our approach on a set of nodules from the Danish Lung Cancer Screening Trial (DLCST) dataset. Our results show that the proposed method outperforms other 3-D descriptors of morphology in the automatic assessment of spiculation.
Silica dust-exposed individuals are at high risk of developing silicosis, a fatal and incurable lung disease. The presence of disseminated micronodules on thoracic CT is the radiological hallmark of silicosis but locating micronodules, to identify subjects at risk, is tedious for human observers. We present a computer-aided detection scheme to automatically find micronodules and quantify micronodule load. The system used lung segmentation, template matching, and a supervised classification scheme. The system achieved a promising sensitivity of 84% at an average of 8.4 false positive marks per scan. In an independent data set of 54 CT scans in which we defined four risk categories, the CAD system automatically classified 83% of subjects correctly, and obtained a weighted kappa of 0.76.