Computer Aided Detection of Masses in Breast Tomosynthesis Imaging Using Information Theory Principles

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Breast cancer screening is currently performed by mammography, which is limited by overlying anatomy and dense breast tissue. Computer aided detection (CADe) systems can serve as a double reader to improve radiologist performance. Tomosynthesis is a limited-angle cone-beam x-ray imaging modality that is currently being investigated to overcome mammography's limitations. CADe systems will play a crucial role to enhance workflow and performance for breast tomosynthesis.

The purpose of this work was to develop unique CADe algorithms for breast tomosynthesis reconstructed volumes. Unlike traditional CADe algorithms which rely on segmentation followed by feature extraction, selection and merging, this dissertation instead adopts information theory principles which are more robust. Information theory relies entirely on the statistical properties of an image and makes no assumptions about underlying distributions and is thus advantageous for smaller datasets such those currently used for all tomosynthesis CADe studies.

The proposed algorithm has two 2 stages (1) initial candidate generation of suspicious locations (2) false positive reduction. Images were accrued from 250 human subjects. In the first stage, initial suspicious locations were first isolated in the 25 projection images per subject acquired by the tomosynthesis system. Only these suspicious locations were reconstructed to yield 3D Volumes of Interest (VOI). For the second stage of the algorithm false positive reduction was then done in three ways: (1) using only the central slice of the VOI containing the largest cross-section of the mass, (2) using the entire volume, and (3) making decisions on a per slice basis and then combining those decisions using either a linear discriminant or decision fusion. A 92% sensitivity was achieved by all three approaches with 4.4 FPs / volume for approach 1, 3.9 for the second approach and 2.5 for the slice-by-slice based algorithm using decision fusion.

We have therefore developed a novel CADe algorithm for breast tomosynthesis. The techniques uses an information theory approach to achieve very high sensitivity for cancer detection while effectively minimizing false positives.





Singh, Swatee (2008). Computer Aided Detection of Masses in Breast Tomosynthesis Imaging Using Information Theory Principles. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


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