Deep-Learning-Based Semantic Labeling for 2D Mammography and Comparison of Complexity for Machine Learning Tasks

Paul H. Yi, Abigail Lin, Jinchi Wei, Alice C. Yu, Haris I. Sair, Ferdinand K. Hui, Gregory D. Hager, Susan Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Machine learning has several potential uses in medical imaging for semantic labeling of images to improve radiologist workflow and to triage studies for review. The purpose of this study was to (1) develop deep convolutional neural networks (DCNNs) for automated classification of 2D mammography views, determination of breast laterality, and assessment and of breast tissue density; and (2) compare the performance of DCNNs on these tasks of varying complexity to each other. We obtained 3034 2D-mammographic images from the Digital Database for Screening Mammography, annotated with mammographic view, image laterality, and breast tissue density. These images were used to train a DCNN to classify images for these three tasks. The DCNN trained to classify mammographic view achieved receiver-operating-characteristic (ROC) area under the curve (AUC) of 1. The DCNN trained to classify breast image laterality initially misclassified right and left breasts (AUC 0.75); however, after discontinuing horizontal flips during data augmentation, AUC improved to 0.93 (p < 0.0001). Breast density classification proved more difficult, with the DCNN achieving 68% accuracy. Automated semantic labeling of 2D mammography is feasible using DCNNs and can be performed with small datasets. However, automated classification of differences in breast density is more difficult, likely requiring larger datasets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-570
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Digital Imaging
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 15 2019


  • Artificial intelligence
  • Breast tissue density
  • Deep learning
  • Mammography
  • Semantic labeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Science Applications


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