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Med Phys. 2012 Feb;39(2):866-73. doi: 10.1118/1.3678991.

Automated detection of mass lesions in dedicated breast CT: a preliminary study.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.



To develop an automated method to detect breast masses on dedicated breast CT (BCT) volumes and to conduct a preliminary evaluation of its performance. This method can be used in a computer-aided detection (CADe) system for noncontrast enhanced BCT.


The database included patient images, which were acquired under an IRB-approved protocol. The database in this study consisted of 132 cases. 50 cases contained 58 malignant masses, and 23 cases contained 24 benign masses. 59 cases did not contain any biopsy-proven lesions. Each case consisted of an unenhanced CT volume of a single breast. First, each breast was segmented into adipose and glandular tissues using a fuzzy c-means clustering algorithm. The glandular breast regions were then sampled at a resolution of 2 mm. At each sampling step, a 3.5-cm(3) volume-of-interest was subjected to constrained region segmentation and 17 characteristic features were extracted, yielding 17 corresponding feature volumes. Four features were selected using step-wise feature selection and merged with linear discriminant analysis trained in the task of distinguishing between normal breast glandular regions and masses. Detection performance was measured using free-response receiver operating characteristic analysis (FROC) with leave-one-case-out evaluation.


The feature selection stage selected features that characterized the shape and margin strength of the segmented region. CADe sensitivity per case was 84% (std = 4.2%) at 2.6 (std = 0.06) false positives per volume, or 6 × 10(-3) per slice (at an average of 424 slices per volume in this data set).


This preliminary study demonstrates the feasibility of our approach for CADe for BCT.

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