Primary Tumor Origin Classification of Lung Nodules in Spectral CT using Transfer Learning

by   Linde S. Hesse, et al.

Early detection of lung cancer has been proven to decrease mortality significantly. A recent development in computed tomography (CT), spectral CT, can potentially improve diagnostic accuracy, as it yields more information per scan than regular CT. However, the shear workload involved with analyzing a large number of scans drives the need for automated diagnosis methods. Therefore, we propose a detection and classification system for lung nodules in CT scans. Furthermore, we want to observe whether spectral images can increase classifier performance. For the detection of nodules we trained a VGG-like 3D convolutional neural net (CNN). To obtain a primary tumor classifier for our dataset we pre-trained a 3D CNN with similar architecture on nodule malignancies of a large publicly available dataset, the LIDC-IDRI dataset. Subsequently we used this pre-trained network as feature extractor for the nodules in our dataset. The resulting feature vectors were classified into two (benign/malignant) and three (benign/primary lung cancer/metastases) classes using support vector machine (SVM). This classification was performed both on nodule- and scan-level. We obtained state-of-the art performance for detection and malignancy regression on the LIDC-IDRI database. Classification performance on our own dataset was higher for scan- than for nodule-level predictions. For the three-class scan-level classification we obtained an accuracy of 78%. Spectral features did increase classifier performance, but not significantly. Our work suggests that a pre-trained feature extractor can be used as primary tumor origin classifier for lung nodules, eliminating the need for elaborate fine-tuning of a new network and large datasets. Code is available at <>.



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