Breast cancer detection with upstream data fusion, machine learning, and automated registration: initial results

Lisa A. Mullen, William C. Walton, Michael P. Williams, Keith S. Peyton, David W. Porter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To develop an artificial intelligence algorithm for the detection of breast cancer by combining upstream data fusion (UDF), machine learning (ML), and automated registration, using digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) and breast ultrasound (US). Approach: Our retrospective study included examinations from 875 women obtained between April 2013 and January 2019. Included patients had a DBT mammogram, breast US, and biopsy proven breast lesion. Images were annotated by a breast imaging radiologist. An AI algorithm was developed based on ML for image candidate detections and UDF for fused detections. After exclusions, images from 150 patients were evaluated. Ninety-five cases were used for training and validation of ML. Fifty-five cases were included in the UDF test set. UDF performance was evaluated with a free-response receiver operating characteristic (FROC) curve. Results: Forty percent of cases evaluated with UDF (22/55) yielded true ML detections in all three images (craniocaudal DBT, mediolateral oblique DBT, and US). Of these, 20/22 (90.9%) produced a UDF fused detection that contained and classified the lesion correctly. FROC analysis for these cases showed 90% sensitivity at 0.3 false positives per case. In contrast, ML yielded an average of 8.0 false alarms per case. Conclusions: An AI algorithm combining UDF, ML, and automated registration was developed and applied to test cases, showing that UDF can yield fused detections and decrease false alarms when applied to breast cancer detection. Improvement of ML detection is needed to realize the full benefit of UDF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberS22409
JournalJournal of Medical Imaging
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023


  • artificial intelligence
  • breast cancer
  • fusion
  • mammography
  • neural network registration
  • ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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