In Radiology ; h5-index 91.0
Background Deep learning (DL) algorithms are gaining extensive attention for their excellent performance in image recognition tasks. DL models can automatically make a quantitative assessment of complex medical image characteristics and achieve increased accuracy in diagnosis with higher efficiency. Purpose To determine the feasibility of using a DL approach to predict clinically negative axillary lymph node metastasis from US images in patients with primary breast cancer. Materials and Methods A data set of US images in patients with primary breast cancer with clinically negative axillary lymph nodes from Tongji Hospital (974 imaging studies from 2016 to 2018, 756 patients) and an independent test set from Hubei Cancer Hospital (81 imaging studies from 2018 to 2019, 78 patients) were collected. Axillary lymph node status was confirmed with pathologic examination. Three different convolutional neural networks (CNNs) of Inception V3, Inception-ResNet V2, and ResNet-101 architectures were trained on 90% of the Tongji Hospital data set and tested on the remaining 10%, as well as on the independent test set. The performance of the models was compared with that of five radiologists. The models' performance was analyzed in terms of accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, receiver operating characteristic curves, areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUCs), and heat maps. Results The best-performing CNN model, Inception V3, achieved an AUC of 0.89 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.83, 0.95) in the prediction of the final clinical diagnosis of axillary lymph node metastasis in the independent test set. The model achieved 85% sensitivity (35 of 41 images; 95% CI: 70%, 94%) and 73% specificity (29 of 40 images; 95% CI: 56%, 85%), and the radiologists achieved 73% sensitivity (30 of 41 images; 95% CI: 57%, 85%; P = .17) and 63% specificity (25 of 40 images; 95% CI: 46%, 77%; P = .34). Conclusion Using US images from patients with primary breast cancer, deep learning models can effectively predict clinically negative axillary lymph node metastasis. Artificial intelligence may provide an early diagnostic strategy for lymph node metastasis in patients with breast cancer with clinically negative lymph nodes. Published under a CC BY 4.0 license. Online supplemental material is available for this article. See also the editorial by Bae in this issue.
Zhou Li-Qiang, Wu Xing-Long, Huang Shu-Yan, Wu Ge-Ge, Ye Hua-Rong, Wei Qi, Bao Ling-Yun, Deng You-Bin, Li Xing-Rui, Cui Xin-Wu, Dietrich Christoph F