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A Machine Learning-based Diagnosis of Thyroid Cancer Using Thyroid Nodules Ultrasound Images

[ Vol. 15 , Issue. 4 ]


Xuesi Ma, Baohang Xi, Yi Zhang, Lijuan Zhu, Xin Sui*, Geng Tian and Jialiang Yang*   Pages 349 - 358 ( 10 )


Background: Ultrasound test is one of the routine tests for the diagnosis of thyroid cancer. The diagnosis accuracy depends largely on the correct interpretation of ultrasound images of thyroid nodules. However, human eye-based image recognition is usually subjective and sometimes error-prone especially for less experienced doctors, which presents a need for computeraided diagnostic systems.

Objective: To our best knowledge, there is no well-maintained ultrasound image database for the Chinese population. In addition, though there are several computational methods for image-based thyroid cancer detection, a comparison among them is missing. Finally, the effects of features like the choice of distance measures have not been assessed. The study aims to give the improvement of these limitations and proposes a highly accurate image-based thyroid cancer diagnosis system, which can better assist doctors in the diagnosis of thyroid cancer.

Methods: We first establish a novel thyroid nodule ultrasound image database consisting of 508 images collected from the Third Hospital of Hebei Medical University in China. The clinical information for the patients is also collected from the hospital, where 415 patients are diagnosed to be benign and 93 are malignant by doctors following a standard diagnosis procedure. We develop and apply five machine learning methods to the dataset including deep neural network, support vector machine, the center clustering method, k-nearest neighbor, and logistic regression.

Results: Experimental results show that deep neural network outperforms other diagnosis methods with an average cross-validation accuracy of 0.87 in 10 runs. Meanwhile, we also explore the performance of four image distance measures including the Euclidean distance, the Manhattan distance, the Chebyshev distance, and the Minkowski distance, among which the Chebyshev distance is the best. The resource can be directly used to aid doctors in thyroid cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Conclusions: The paper establishes a novel thyroid nodule ultrasound image database and develops a high accurate image-based thyroid cancer diagnosis system which can better assist doctors in the diagnosis of thyroid cancer.


Machine learning, thyroid, ultrasound images, support vector machines, centre clustering, k-nearest neighbours, logistic regression, deep neural networks.


School of Mathematics and Information Science, Henan Polytechnic University, Jiaozuo, Henan 454000, College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, Hangzhou 310018, Department of Mathematics, Hebei University of Science and Technology, Shijiazhuang, Hebei 050018, College of Mathematics and Information Engineering, Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua, Zhejiang 321004, Department of Ultrasound, The Third Hospital of Hebei Medical University, Shijiazhuang, Hebei 050018, Geneis Beijing Co. Ltd., Beijing 100102, Geneis Beijing Co. Ltd., Beijing 100102

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