Automatic detection of anomalies in screening mammograms
1 Discipline of Radiology, Janeway Child Health Centre, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland A1B 3V6, Canada
2 Prairie North Health Region, Battlefords Office, 1092 107th Street, North Battleford, Saskatchewan S9A 1Z1, Canada
3 Radiation Oncology Department, Nova Scotia Cancer Centre, 5820 University Avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 1V7, Canada
BMC Medical Imaging 2013, 13:43 doi:10.1186/1471-2342-13-43Published: 13 December 2013
Diagnostic performance in breast screening programs may be influenced by the prior probability of disease. Since breast cancer incidence is roughly half a percent in the general population there is a large probability that the screening exam will be normal. That factor may contribute to false negatives. Screening programs typically exhibit about 83% sensitivity and 91% specificity. This investigation was undertaken to determine if a system could be developed to pre-sort screening-images into normal and suspicious bins based on their likelihood to contain disease. Wavelets were investigated as a method to parse the image data, potentially removing confounding information. The development of a classification system based on features extracted from wavelet transformed mammograms is reported.
In the multi-step procedure images were processed using 2D discrete wavelet transforms to create a set of maps at different size scales. Next, statistical features were computed from each map, and a subset of these features was the input for a concerted-effort set of naïve Bayesian classifiers. The classifier network was constructed to calculate the probability that the parent mammography image contained an abnormality. The abnormalities were not identified, nor were they regionalized.
The algorithm was tested on two publicly available databases: the Digital Database for Screening Mammography (DDSM) and the Mammographic Images Analysis Society’s database (MIAS). These databases contain radiologist-verified images and feature common abnormalities including: spiculations, masses, geometric deformations and fibroid tissues.
The classifier-network designs tested achieved sensitivities and specificities sufficient to be potentially useful in a clinical setting. This first series of tests identified networks with 100% sensitivity and up to 79% specificity for abnormalities. This performance significantly exceeds the mean sensitivity reported in literature for the unaided human expert.
Classifiers based on wavelet-derived features proved to be highly sensitive to a range of pathologies, as a result Type II errors were nearly eliminated. Pre-sorting the images changed the prior probability in the sorted database from 37% to 74%.