With the advancement of artificial intelligence, CNNs have been successfully introduced into the discipline of medical data analyzing. Clinically, automatic pulmonary nodules detection remains an intractable issue since those nodules existing in the lung parenchyma or on the chest wall are tough to be visually distinguished from shadows, background noises, blood vessels, and bones. Thus, when making medical diagnosis, clinical doctors need to first pay attention to the intensity cue and contour characteristic of pulmonary nodules, so as to locate the specific spatial locations of nodules. To automate the detection process, we propose an efficient architecture of multi-task and dual-branch 3D convolution neural networks, called DBPNDNet, for automatic pulmonary nodule detection and segmentation. Among the dual-branch structure, one branch is designed for candidate region extraction of pulmonary nodule detection, while the other incorporated branch is exploited for lesion region semantic segmentation of pulmonary nodules. In addition, we develop a 3D attention weighted feature fusion module according to the doctor’s diagnosis perspective, so that the captured information obtained by the designed segmentation branch can further promote the effect of the adopted detection branch mutually. The experiment has been implemented and assessed on the commonly used dataset for medical image analysis to evaluate our designed framework. On average, our framework achieved a sensitivity of 91.33% false positives per CT scan and reached 97.14% sensitivity with 8 FPs per scan. The results of the experiments indicate that our framework outperforms other mainstream approaches. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
- 3D attention
- Dual-branch network
- Fuzzy deep learning
- Pulmonary nodule detection
- Weighted feature fusion module