Automatic Generation of Interpretable Lung Cancer Scoring Models from Chest X-Ray Images

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Journal Article
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Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide with early detection being the key to a positive patient prognosis. Although a multitude of studies have demonstrated that machine learning, and particularly deep learning, techniques are effective at automatically diagnosing lung cancer, these techniques have yet to be clinically approved and adopted by the medical community. Most research in this field is focused on the narrow task of nodule detection to provide an artificial radiological second reading. We instead focus on extracting, from chest X-ray images, a wider range of pathologies associated with lung cancer using a computer vision model trained on a large dataset. We then find the set of best fit decision trees against an independent, smaller dataset for which lung cancer malignancy metadata is provided. For this small inferencing dataset, our best model achieves sensitivity and specificity of 85% and 75% respectively with a positive predictive value of 85% which is comparable to the performance of human radiologists. Furthermore, the decision trees created by this method may be considered as a starting point for refinement by medical experts into clinically usable multi-variate lung cancer scoring and diagnostic models.
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