Classification of background parenchymal uptake on molecular breast imaging using a convolutional neural network

Rickey E. Carter, Zachi I. Attia, Jennifer R. Geske, Amy Lynn Conners, Dana H. Whaley, Katie N. Hunt, Michael K. O'Connor, Deborah J. Rhodes, Carrie B. Hruska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


PURPOSE Background parenchymal uptake (BPU), which describes the level of radiotracer uptake in normal fibroglandular tissue on molecular breast imaging (MBI), has been identified as a breast cancer risk factor. Our objective was to develop and validate a deep learning model using image convolution to automatically categorize BPU on MBI. METHODS MBI examinations obtained for clinical and research purposes from 2004 to 2015 were reviewed to classify the BPU pattern using a standardized five-category scale. Two expert radiologists provided interpretations that were used as the reference standard for modeling. The modeling consisted of training and validating a convolutional neural network to predict BPU. Model performance was summarized in data reserved to test the performance of the algorithm at the per-image and per-breast levels. RESULTS Training was performed on 24,639 images from 3,133 unique patients. The model performance on the withheld testing data (6,172 images; 786 patients) was evaluated. Using direct matching on the predicted classification resulted in an accuracy of 69.4% (95% CI, 67.4% to 71.3%), and if prediction within one category was considered, accuracy increased to 96.0% (95% CI, 95.2% to 96.7%). When considering the breast-level prediction of BPU, the accuracy remained strong, with 70.3% (95% CI, 68.0% to 72.6%) and 96.2% (95% CI, 95.3% to 97.2%) for the direct match and allowance for one category, respectively. CONCLUSION BPU provided a robust target for training a convolutional neural network. A validated computer algorithm will allow for objective, reproducible encoding of BPU to foster its integration into risk-stratification algorithms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJCO Clinical Cancer Informatics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Health Informatics
  • Cancer Research


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