Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have emerged as the most powerful technique for a range of different tasks in computer vision. Recent work suggested that CNN features are generic and can be used for classification tasks outside the exact domain for which the networks were trained. In this work we use the features from one such network, OverFeat, trained for object detection in natural images, for nodule detection in computed tomography scans. We use 865 scans from the publicly available LIDC data set, read by four thoracic radiologists. Nodule candidates are generated by a state-of-theart nodule detection system. We extract 2D sagittal, coronal and axial patches for each nodule candidate and extract 4096 features from the penultimate layer of OverFeat and classify these with linear support vector machines. We show for various configurations that the off-the-shelf CNN features perform surprisingly well, but not as good as the dedicated detection system. When both approaches are combined, significantly better results are obtained than either approach alone. We conclude that CNN features have great potential to be used for detection tasks in volumetric medical data.
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