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Nat Med. 2019 Jun;25(6):954-961. doi: 10.1038/s41591-019-0447-x. Epub 2019 May 20.

End-to-end lung cancer screening with three-dimensional deep learning on low-dose chest computed tomography.

Author information

Google AI, Mountain View, CA, USA.
Stanford Health Care and Palo Alto Veterans Affairs, Palo Alto, CA, USA.
Google AI, Mountain View, CA, USA.
Northwestern Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA.
New York University-Langone Medical Center, Center for Biological Imaging, New York City, NY, USA.


With an estimated 160,000 deaths in 2018, lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the United States1. Lung cancer screening using low-dose computed tomography has been shown to reduce mortality by 20-43% and is now included in US screening guidelines1-6. Existing challenges include inter-grader variability and high false-positive and false-negative rates7-10. We propose a deep learning algorithm that uses a patient's current and prior computed tomography volumes to predict the risk of lung cancer. Our model achieves a state-of-the-art performance (94.4% area under the curve) on 6,716 National Lung Cancer Screening Trial cases, and performs similarly on an independent clinical validation set of 1,139 cases. We conducted two reader studies. When prior computed tomography imaging was not available, our model outperformed all six radiologists with absolute reductions of 11% in false positives and 5% in false negatives. Where prior computed tomography imaging was available, the model performance was on-par with the same radiologists. This creates an opportunity to optimize the screening process via computer assistance and automation. While the vast majority of patients remain unscreened, we show the potential for deep learning models to increase the accuracy, consistency and adoption of lung cancer screening worldwide.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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