The purpose of this study was to define clinically appropriate, computer-aided lung nodule detection (CAD) requirements and protocols based on recent screening trials. In the following paper, we describe a CAD evaluation methodology based on a publically available, annotated computed tomography (CT) image data set, and demonstrate the evaluation of a new CAD system with the functionality and performance required for adoption in clinical practice.
A new automated lung nodule detection and measurement system was developed that incorporates intensity thresholding, a Euclidean Distance Transformation, and segmentation based on watersheds. System performance was evaluated against the Lung Imaging Database Consortium (LIDC) CT reference data set.
The test set comprised thin-section CT scans from 108 LIDC subjects. The median (±IQR) sensitivity per subject was 100 (±37.5) for nodules ≥ 4 mm and 100 (±8.33) for nodules ≥ 8 mm. The corresponding false positive rates were 0 (±2.0) and 0 (±1.0), respectively. The concordance correlation coefficient between the CAD nodule diameter and the LIDC reference was 0.91, and for volume it was 0.90.
The new CAD system shows high nodule sensitivity with a low false positive rate. Automated volume measurements have strong agreement with the reference standard. Thus, it provides comprehensive, clinically-usable lung nodule detection and assessment functionality.