Learning better deep features for the prediction of occult invasive disease in ductal carcinoma in situ through transfer learning
Purpose: To determine whether domain transfer learning can improve the performance of deep features extracted from digital mammograms using a pre-trained deep convolutional neural network (CNN) in the prediction of occult invasive disease for patients with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) on core needle biopsy. Method: In this study, we collected digital mammography magnification views for 140 patients with DCIS at biopsy, 35 of which were subsequently upstaged to invasive cancer. We utilized a deep CNN model that was pre-trained on two natural image data sets (ImageNet and DTD) and one mammographic data set (INbreast) as the feature extractor, hypothesizing that these data sets are increasingly more similar to our target task and will lead to better representations of deep features to describe DCIS lesions. Through a statistical pooling strategy, three sets of deep features were extracted using the CNNs at different levels of convolutional layers from the lesion areas. A logistic regression classifier was then trained to predict which tumors contain occult invasive disease. The generalization performance was assessed and compared using repeated random sub-sampling validation and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis. Result: The best performance of deep features was from CNN model pre-trained on INbreast, and the proposed classifier using this set of deep features was able to achieve a median classification performance of ROC-AUC equal to 0.75, which is significantly better (p<=0.05) than the performance of deep features extracted using ImageNet data set (ROCAUC = 0.68). Conclusion: Transfer learning is helpful for learning a better representation of deep features, and improves the prediction of occult invasive disease in DCIS.