DeepCAT: Deep Computer-Aided Triage of Screening Mammography

Paul H. Yi, Dhananjay Singh, Susan C. Harvey, Gregory D. Hager, Lisa A. Mullen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although much deep learning research has focused on mammographic detection of breast cancer, relatively little attention has been paid to mammography triage for radiologist review. The purpose of this study was to develop and test DeepCAT, a deep learning system for mammography triage based on suspicion of cancer. Specifically, we evaluate DeepCAT’s ability to provide two augmentations to radiologists: (1) discarding images unlikely to have cancer from radiologist review and (2) prioritization of images likely to contain cancer. We used 1878 2D-mammographic images (CC & MLO) from the Digital Database for Screening Mammography to develop DeepCAT, a deep learning triage system composed of 2 components: (1) mammogram classifier cascade and (2) mass detector, which are combined to generate an overall priority score. This priority score is used to order images for radiologist review. Of 595 testing images, DeepCAT recommended low priority for 315 images (53%), of which none contained a malignant mass. In evaluation of prioritizing images according to likelihood of containing cancer, DeepCAT’s study ordering required an average of 26 adjacent swaps to obtain perfect review order. Our results suggest that DeepCAT could substantially increase efficiency for breast imagers and effectively triage review of mammograms with malignant masses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-35
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Digital Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Artificial intelligence
  • Breast cancer screening
  • Breast imaging
  • Deep learning
  • Mammography
  • Triage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Science Applications


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