Massive-training artificial neural network (MTANN) for reduction of false positives in computer-aided detection of polyps: Suppression of rectal tubes



One of the limitations of the current computer-aided detection (CAD) of polyps in CT colonography (CTC) is a relatively large number of false-positive (FP) detections. Rectal tubes (RTs) are one of the typical sources of FPs because a portion of a RT, especially a portion of a bulbous tip, often exhibits a cap-like shape that closely mimics the appearance of a small polyp. Radiologists can easily recognize and dismiss RT-induced FPs; thus, they may lose their confidence in CAD as an effective tool if the CAD scheme generates such “obvious” FPs due to RTs consistently. In addition, RT-induced FPs may distract radiologists from less common true positives in the rectum. Therefore, removal RT-induced FPs as well as other types of FPs is desirable while maintaining a high sensitivity in the detection of polyps. We developed a three-dimensional (3D) massive-training artificial neural network (MTANN) for distinction between polyps and RTs in 3D CTC volumetric data. The 3D MTANN is a supervised volume-processing technique which is trained with input CTC volumes and the corresponding “teaching” volumes. The teaching volume for a polyp contains a 3D Gaussian distribution, and that for a RT contains zeros for enhancement of polyps and suppression of RTs, respectively. For distinction between polyps and nonpolyps including RTs, a 3D scoring method based on a 3D Gaussian weighting function is applied to the output of the trained 3D MTANN. Our database consisted of CTC examinations of 73 patients, scanned in both supine and prone positions (146 CTC data sets in total), with optical colonoscopy as a reference standard for the presence of polyps. Fifteen patients had 28 polyps, 15 of which were 59mm and 13 were 1025mm in size. These CTC cases were subjected to our previously reported CAD scheme that included centerline-based segmentation of the colon, shape-based detection of polyps, and reduction of FPs by use of a Bayesian neural network based on geometric and texture features. Application of this CAD scheme yielded 96.4% (2728) by-polyp sensitivity with 3.1 (22473) FPs per patient, among which 20 FPs were caused by RTs. To eliminate the FPs due to RTs and possibly other normal structures, we trained a 3D MTANN with ten representative polyps and ten RTs, and applied the trained 3D MTANN to the above CAD true- and false-positive detections. In the output volumes of the 3D MTANN, polyps were represented by distributions of bright voxels, whereas RTs and other normal structures partly similar to RTs appeared as darker voxels, indicating the ability of the 3D MTANN to suppress RTs as well as other normal structures effectively. Application of the 3D MTANN to the CAD detections showed that the 3D MTANN eliminated all RT-induced 20 FPs, as well as 53 FPs due to other causes, without removal of any true positives. Overall, the 3D MTANN was able to reduce the FP rate of the CAD scheme from 3.1 to 2.1 FPs per patient (33% reduction), while the original by-polyp sensitivity of 96.4% was maintained.