The value of the computer-aided diagnosis system for thyroid lesions based on computed tomography images

Chenbin Liu, Shanshan Chen, Yunze Yang, Dangdang Shao, Wenxian Peng, Yan Wang, Yihong Chen, Yuenan Wang


Background: Thyroid nodules are commonly found at palpation amounting to 4–7% of the asymptomatic population and 50% of the cases are found at autopsy. Only a small proportion of thyroid nodules are malignant. The major challenge is the differential diagnosis of benign or malignant thyroid nodules, so we aim to develop the computer-assisted diagnostic method based on computed tomography (CT) images for thyroid lesions.
Methods: In this study, we retrospectively collected 52 benign and 46 malignant thyroid nodules from 90 patients in CT examinations, together with the pathologist findings and radiology diagnosis. The first-order statistic and gray-level co-occurrence matrix features were extracted from thyroid computed tomography images. These texture features were used to assess the malignancy risk of the thyroid nodules. Several classification algorithms, including support vector machine, linear discriminant analysis, random forest, and bootstrap aggregating, were applied in the prediction. Leave-one-out cross-validation was used to evaluate the performance of thyroid cancer recognition.
Results: In thyroid cancer identification based on a computed tomography image, we found the system using 17 texture features and support vector machine performed well. The accuracy, area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value, were 0.8673, 0.9105, 0.9130, 0.8269, 0.8235 and 0.9146, respectively.
Conclusions: The proposed computer-aided diagnosis system provides a good assessment of the malignancy-risk of the thyroid nodules, which may help radiologists to improve the accuracy and efficiency of thyroid diagnosis.