Convolutional Neural Network of Multiparametric MRI Accurately Detects Axillary Lymph Node Metastasis in Breast Cancer Patients With Pre Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy



      Accurate assessment of the axillary lymph nodes (aLNs) in breast cancer patients is essential for prognosis and treatment planning. Current radiological staging of nodal metastasis has poor accuracy. This study aimed to investigate the machine learning convolutional neural networks (CNNs) on multiparametric MRI to detect nodal metastasis with 18FDG-PET as ground truths.

      Materials and Methods

      Data were obtained via a retrospective search. Inclusion criteria were patients with bilateral breast MRI and 18FDG-PETand/or CT scans obtained before neoadjuvant chemotherapy. In total, 238 aLNs were obtained from 56 breast cancer patients with 18FDG-PET and/or CT and breast MRI data. Radiologists scored each node based on all MRI as diseased and non–diseased nodes. Five models were built using T1-W MRI, T2-W MRI, DCE MRI, T1-W + T2-W MRI, and DCE + T2-W MRI model. Performance was evaluated using receiver operating curve (ROC) analysis, including area under the curve (AUC).


      All CNN models yielded similar performance with an accuracy ranging from 86.08% to 88.50% and AUC ranging from 0.804 to 0.882. The CNN model using T1-W MRI performed better than that using T2-W MRI in detecting nodal metastasis. CNN model using combined T1- and T2-W MRI performed the best compared to all other models (accuracy = 88.50%, AUC = 0.882), but similar in AUC to the DCE + T2-W MRI model (accuracy = 88.02%, AUC = 0.880). All CNN models performed better than radiologists in detecting nodal metastasis (accuracy = 65.8%).




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