Automatic Detection of Subsolid Pulmonary Nodules in Thoracic Computed Tomography Images

C. Jacobs, E. van Rikxoort, T. Twellmann, E. Scholten, P. de Jong, J. Kuhnigk, M. Oudkerk, H. de Koning, M. Prokop, C. Schaefer-Prokop and B. van Ginneken

Medical Image Analysis 2014;18:374-384.

DOI PMID Cited by ~164 Download

Subsolid pulmonary nodules occur less often than solid pulmonary nodules, but show a much higher malignancy rate. Therefore, accurate detection of this type of pulmonary nodules is crucial. In this work, a computer-aided detection (CAD) system for subsolid nodules in computed tomography images is presented and evaluated on a large data set from a multi-center lung cancer screening trial. The paper describes the different components of the CAD system and presents experiments to optimize the performance of the proposed CAD system. A rich set of 128 features is defined for subsolid nodule candidates. In addition to previously used intensity, shape and texture features, a novel set of context features is introduced. Experiments show that these features significantly improve the classification performance. Optimization and training of the CAD system is performed on a large training set from one site of a lung cancer screening trial. Performance analysis on an independent test from another site of the trial shows that the proposed system reaches a sensitivity of 80% at an average of only 1.0 false positive detections per scan. A retrospective analysis of the output of the CAD system by an experienced thoracic radiologist shows that the CAD system is able to find subsolid nodules which were not contained in the screening database.