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In Frontiers in oncology

Purpose/Objectivess : Salivary gland tumors are a rare, histologically heterogeneous group of tumors. The distinction between malignant and benign tumors of the parotid gland is clinically important. This study aims to develop and evaluate a deep-learning network for diagnosing parotid gland tumors via the deep learning of MR images.

Materials/Methods : Two hundred thirty-three patients with parotid gland tumors were enrolled in this study. Histology results were available for all tumors. All patients underwent MRI scans, including T1-weighted, CE-T1-weighted and T2-weighted imaging series. The parotid glands and tumors were segmented on all three MR image series by a radiologist with 10 years of clinical experience. A total of 3791 parotid gland region images were cropped from the MR images. A label (pleomorphic adenoma and Warthin tumor, malignant tumor or free of tumor), which was based on histology results, was assigned to each image. To train the deep-learning model, these data were randomly divided into a training dataset (90%, comprising 3035 MR images from 212 patients: 714 pleomorphic adenoma images, 558 Warthin tumor images, 861 malignant tumor images, and 902 images free of tumor) and a validation dataset (10%, comprising 275 images from 21 patients: 57 pleomorphic adenoma images, 36 Warthin tumor images, 93 malignant tumor images, and 89 images free of tumor). A modified ResNet model was developed to classify these images. The input images were resized to 224x224 pixels, including four channels (T1-weighted tumor images only, T2-weighted tumor images only, CE-T1-weighted tumor images only and parotid gland images). Random image flipping and contrast adjustment were used for data enhancement. The model was trained for 1200 epochs with a learning rate of 1e-6, and the Adam optimizer was implemented. It took approximately 2 hours to complete the whole training procedure. The whole program was developed with PyTorch (version 1.2).

Results : The model accuracy with the training dataset was 92.94% (95% CI [0.91, 0.93]). The micro-AUC was 0.98. The experimental results showed that the accuracy of the final algorithm in the diagnosis and staging of parotid cancer was 82.18% (95% CI [0.77, 0.86]). The micro-AUC was 0.93.

Conclusion : The proposed model may be used to assist clinicians in the diagnosis of parotid tumors. However, future larger-scale multicenter studies are required for full validation.

Xia Xianwu, Feng Bin, Wang Jiazhou, Hua Qianjin, Yang Yide, Sheng Liang, Mou Yonghua, Hu Weigang


MR image, classification, deep learning, image processing, parotid gland tumor