Fully automatic detection of lung nodules in CT images using a hybrid feature set

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Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study was to develop a novel technique for lung nodule detection using an optimized feature set. This feature set has been achieved after rigorous experimentation, which has helped in reducing the false positives significantly.

Method

The proposed method starts with preprocessing, removing any present noise from input images, followed by lung segmentation using optimal thresholding. Then the image is enhanced using multiscale dot enhancement filtering prior to nodule detection and feature extraction. Finally, classification of lung nodules is achieved using Support Vector Machine (SVM) classifier. The feature set consists of intensity, shape (2D and 3D) and texture features, which have been selected to optimize the sensitivity and reduce false positives. In addition to SVM, some other supervised classifiers like K-Nearest-Neighbor (KNN), Decision Tree and Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA) have also been used for performance comparison. The extracted features have also been compared class-wise to determine the most relevant features for lung nodule detection. The proposed system has been evaluated using 850 scans from Lung Image Database Consortium (LIDC) dataset and k-fold cross-validation scheme.

Results

The overall sensitivity has been improved compared to the previous methods and false positives per scan have been reduced significantly. The achieved sensitivities at detection and classification stages are 94.20% and 98.15%, respectively, with only 2.19 false positives per scan.

Conclusions

It is very difficult to achieve high performance metrics using only a single feature class therefore hybrid approach in feature selection remains a better choice. Choosing right set of features can improve the overall accuracy of the system by improving the sensitivity and reducing false positives.

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