Breast Tumor Identification in Ultrafast MRI Using Temporal and Spatial Information

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Purpose: To investigate the feasibility of using deep learning methods to differentiate benign from malignant breast lesions in ultrafast MRI with both temporal and spatial information. Methods: A total of 173 single breasts of 122 women (151 examinations) with lesions above 5 mm were retrospectively included. A total of 109 out of 173 lesions were benign. Maximum intensity projection (MIP) images were generated from each of the 14 contrast-enhanced T1-weighted acquisitions in the ultrafast MRI scan. A 2D convolutional neural network (CNN) and a long short-term memory (LSTM) network were employed to extract morphological and temporal features, respectively. The 2D CNN model was trained with the MIPs from the last four acquisitions to ensure the visibility of the lesions, while the LSTM model took MIPs of an entire scan as input. The performance of each model and their combination were evaluated with 100-times repeated stratified four-fold cross-validation. Those models were then compared with models developed with standard DCE-MRI which followed the same data split. Results: In the differentiation between benign and malignant lesions, the ultrafast MRI-based 2D CNN achieved a mean AUC of 0.81 ± 0.06, and the LSTM network achieved a mean AUC of 0.78 ± 0.07; their combination showed a mean AUC of 0.83 ± 0.06 in the cross-validation. The mean AUC values were significantly higher for ultrafast MRI-based models than standard DCE-MRI-based models. Conclusion: Deep learning models developed with ultrafast breast MRI achieved higher performances than standard DCE-MRI for malignancy discrimination. The improved AUC values of the combined models indicate an added value of temporal information extracted by the LSTM model in breast lesion characterization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2042
Number of pages11
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1-Apr-2022


  • deep learning
  • lesion classification
  • ultrafast breast MRI

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