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Thyroid. 2017 Apr;27(4):546-552. doi: 10.1089/thy.2016.0372. Epub 2017 Feb 28.

A Computer-Aided Diagnosis System Using Artificial Intelligence for the Diagnosis and Characterization of Thyroid Nodules on Ultrasound: Initial Clinical Assessment.

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1 Department of Radiology and Research Institute of Radiology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine , Seoul, Korea.
2 Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine , Seoul, Korea.



An initial clinical assessment is described of a new, commercially available, computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) system using artificial intelligence (AI) for thyroid ultrasound, and its performance is evaluated in the diagnosis of malignant thyroid nodules and categorization of nodule characteristics.


Patients with thyroid nodules with decisive diagnosis, whether benign or malignant, were consecutively enrolled from November 2015 to February 2016. An experienced radiologist reviewed the ultrasound image characteristics of the thyroid nodules, while another radiologist assessed the same thyroid nodules using the CAD system, providing ultrasound characteristics and a diagnosis of whether nodules were benign or malignant. The diagnostic performance and agreement of US characteristics between the experienced radiologist and the CAD system were compared.


In total, 102 thyroid nodules from 89 patients were included; 59 (57.8%) were benign and 43 (42.2%) were malignant. The CAD system showed a similar sensitivity as the experienced radiologist (90.7% vs. 88.4%, p > 0.99), but a lower specificity and a lower area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUROC) curve (specificity: 74.6% vs. 94.9%, p = 0.002; AUROC: 0.83 vs. 0.92, p = 0.021). Classifications of the ultrasound characteristics (composition, orientation, echogenicity, and spongiform) between radiologist and CAD system were in substantial agreement (κ = 0.659, 0.740, 0.733, and 0.658, respectively), while the margin showed a fair agreement (κ = 0.239).


The sensitivity of the CAD system using AI for malignant thyroid nodules was as good as that of the experienced radiologist, while specificity and accuracy were lower than those of the experienced radiologist. The CAD system showed an acceptable agreement with the experienced radiologist for characterization of thyroid nodules.


computer-aided system; thyroid nodule; ultrasound

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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