High-resolution synthesis of high-density breast mammograms: Application to improved fairness in deep learning based mass detection

Lidia Garrucho, Kaisar Kushibar, Richard Osuala, Oliver Diaz, Alessandro Catanese, Javier del Riego, Maciej Bobowicz, Fredrik Strand, Laura Igual, Karim Lekadir

Computer-aided detection systems based on deep learning have shown good performance in breast cancer detection. However, high-density breasts show poorer detection performance since dense tissues can mask or even simulate masses. Therefore, the sensitivity of mammography for breast cancer detection can be reduced by more than 20% in dense breasts. Additionally, extremely dense cases reported an increased risk of cancer compared to low-density breasts. This study aims to improve the mass detection performance in high-density breasts using synthetic high-density full-field digital mammograms (FFDM) as data augmentation during breast mass detection model training. To this end, a total of five cycle-consistent GAN (CycleGAN) models using three FFDM datasets were trained for low-to-high-density image translation in high-resolution mammograms. The training images were split by breast density BI-RADS categories, being BI-RADS A almost entirely fatty and BI-RADS D extremely dense breasts. Our results showed that the proposed data augmentation technique improved the sensitivity and precision of mass detection in high-density breasts by 2% and 6% in two different test sets and was useful as a domain adaptation technique. In addition, the clinical realism of the synthetic images was evaluated in a reader study involving two expert radiologists and one surgical oncologist.

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