Computerized Detection and Classification of Cancer on Breast Ultrasound

Karen Drukker, Maryellen L. Giger*, Carl J. Vyborny, Ellen B. Mendelson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Rationale and Objectives. To develop and evaluate a two-stage computerized method that first detects suspicious regions on ultrasound images, and subsequently distinguishes among different lesion types. Materials and Methods. The first stage of detecting potential lesions was based on expected lesion shape and margin characteristics. After the detection stage, all candidate lesions were classified by a Bayesian neural net based on computer-extracted lesion features. Two separate tasks were performed and evaluated at the classification stage: the first classification task was the distinction between all actual lesions and false-positive detections; the second classification task was the distinction between actual cancer and all other detected lesion candidates (including false-positive detections). The neural nets were trained on a database of 400 cases (757 images), consisting of complex cysts and benign and malignant lesions, and tested on an independent database of 458 cases (1, 740 images including 578 normal images). Results. In the distinction between all actual lesions and false-positive detections, Az values of 0.94 and 0.91 were obtained with the training and testing data sets, respectively. Sensitivity by patient of 90% at 0.45 false-positive detections per image was achieved for this detection-plus-classification scheme for the testing data set. Distinguishing cancer from all other detections (false-positives plus all benign lesions) proved to be more challenging, and Az values of 0.87 and 0.81 were obtained during training and testing, respectively. Sensitivity by patient of 100% at 0.43 false-positive malignancies per image was achieved in the detection and classification of cancerous lesions for the testing dataset. Conclusion. The results show promising performance of the computerized lesion detection and classification method, and indicate the potential of such a system for clinical breast ultrasound.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)526-535
Number of pages10
JournalAcademic radiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Breast sonography
  • Cancer detection
  • Computer-aided diagnosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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