Differential Diagnosis for Pancreatic Cysts in CT Scans Using Densely-Connected Convolutional Networks

by   Hongwei Li, et al.

The lethal nature of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) calls for early differential diagnosis of pancreatic cysts, which are identified in up to 16 of normal subjects, and some of which may develop into PDAC. Previous computer-aided developments have achieved certain accuracy for classification on segmented cystic lesions in CT. However, pancreatic cysts have a large variation in size and shape, and the precise segmentation of them remains rather challenging, which restricts the computer-aided interpretation of CT images acquired for differential diagnosis. We propose a computer-aided framework for early differential diagnosis of pancreatic cysts without pre-segmenting the lesions using densely-connected convolutional networks (Dense-Net). The Dense-Net learns high-level features from whole abnormal pancreas and builds mappings between medical imaging appearance to different pathological types of pancreatic cysts. To enhance the clinical applicability, we integrate saliency maps in the framework to assist the physicians to understand the decision of the deep learning method. The test on a cohort of 206 patients with 4 pathologically confirmed subtypes of pancreatic cysts has achieved an overall accuracy of 72.8 baseline accuracy of 48.1 our developed method.


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