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Ultrasound Med Biol. 2010 Aug;36(8):1273-81. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2010.05.010.

CAD algorithms for solid breast masses discrimination: evaluation of the accuracy and interobserver variability.

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Ultrasound Department, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China.


For a successful computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) approach, investigating the benefit of the output for radiologist diagnosis is as important as developing the computer algorithm itself. To evaluate the accuracy and the interobserver variability of two newly developed CAD algorithms for breast mass discrimination, eight radiologists with varied experience in breast ultrasonography (US) independently reviewed the lesions according to Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS)-US. They interpreted the original ultrasound images, provided a final assessment category to indicate the probability of malignancy and then made a further diagnosis using the images processed by the proposed CAD algorithms. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve and Cohen's kappa statistics were employed to evaluate the effect of the CAD algorithms on radiologist diagnoses. By using the proposed CAD approach, the quality of the images was improved and more information was provided to the observers. With the processed images, the areas under the ROC (Az) of each reader (0.86 approximately 0.89) were greater than those with the original ultrasound images (0.81 approximately 0.86) and all the radiologists improved their performance significantly (p < 0.05) except two senior radiologists (p > 0.05). The Az values of the junior radiologists with CAD were comparable to those of the senior radiologists. Cohen's kappa statistics showed that better interobserver agreement was obtained by using the processed images. We conclude that the proposed CAD method is more helpful for the junior radiologists than for the senior ones and it also showed the advantage of decreasing interobserver variability.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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