Refining dataset curation methods for deep learning-based automated tuberculosis screening

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Background: The study objective was to determine whether unlabeled datasets can be used to further train and improve the accuracy of a deep learning system (DLS) for the detection of tuberculosis (TB) on chest radiographs (CXRs) using a two-stage semi-supervised approach. Methods: A total of 111,622 CXRs from the National Institute of Health ChestX-ray14 database were collected. A cardiothoracic radiologist reviewed a subset of 11,000 CXRs and dichotomously labeled each for the presence or absence of potential TB findings; these interpretations were used to train a deep convolutional neural network (DCNN) to identify CXRs with possible TB (Phase I). The best performing algorithm was then used to label the remaining database consisting of 100,622 radiographs; subsequently, these newly-labeled images were used to train a second DCNN (phase II). The best-performing algorithm from phase II (TBNet) was then tested against CXRs obtained from 3 separate sites (2 from the USA, 1 from China) with clinically confirmed cases of TB. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were generated with area under the curve (AUC) calculated. Results: The phase I algorithm trained using 11,000 expert-labelled radiographs achieved an AUC of 0.88. The phase II algorithm trained on images labeled by the phase I algorithm achieved an AUC of 0.91 testing against a TB dataset obtained from Shenzhen, China and Montgomery County, USA. The algorithm generalized well to radiographs obtained from a tertiary care hospital, achieving an AUC of 0.87; TBNet's sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value were 85%, 76%, 0.64, and 0.9, respectively. When TBNet was used to arbitrate discrepancies between 2 radiologists, the overall sensitivity reached 94% and negative predictive value reached 0.96, demonstrating a synergistic effect between the algorithm's output and radiologists' interpretations. Conclusions: Using semi-supervised learning, we trained a deep learning algorithm that detected TB at a high accuracy and demonstrated value as a CAD tool by identifying relevant CXR findings, especially in cases that were misinterpreted by radiologists. When dataset labels are noisy or absent, the described methods can significantly reduce the required amount of curated data to build clinically-relevant deep learning models, which will play an important role in the era of precision medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5078-5085
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Thoracic Disease
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Chest radiography (CXR)
  • Deep learning system (DLS)
  • Tuberculosis (TB)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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