Application of artificial neural networks to the analysis of dynamic MR imaging features of the breast.

European radiology

PubMedID: 15034745

Szabó BK, Wiberg MK, Boné B, Aspelin P. Application of artificial neural networks to the analysis of dynamic MR imaging features of the breast. Eur Radiol. 2004;14(7):1217-25.
The discriminative ability of established diagnostic criteria for MRI of the breast is assessed, and their relative relevance using artificial neural networks (ANNs) is determined. A total of 89 women with 105 histopathologically verified breast lesions (73 invasive cancers, 2 in situ cancers, and 30 benign lesions) were included in this study. A T1-weighted 3D FLASH sequence was acquired before and seven times after the intravenous administration of gadopentetate dimeglumine at a dose of 0.2 mmol/kg body weight. ANN models were built to test the discriminative ability of kinetic, morphologic, and combined MR features. The subjects were randomly divided into two parts: a training set of 59 lesions and a verification set of 46 lesions. The training set was used for learning, and the performance of each model was evaluated on the verification set by measuring the area under the ROC curve (Az). An optimally minimized model was constructed using the most relevant input variables that were determined by the automatic relevance determination (ARD) method. ANN models were compared with the performance of a human reader. Margin type, time-to-peak enhancement, and washout ratio showed the highest discriminative ability among diagnostic criteria and comprised the minimized model. Compared with the expert radiologist (Az = 0.799), using the same prediction scale, the minimized ANN model performed best (Az = 0.771), followed by the best kinetic (Az = 0.743), the maximized (Az = 0.727), and the morphologic model (Az = 0.678). The performance of a neural network prediction model is comparable to that of an expert radiologist. A neurostatistical approach is preferred for the analysis of diagnostic criteria when many parameters are involved and complex nonlinear relationships exist in the data set.