Indexed on: 06 Sep '11Published on: 06 Sep '11Published in: The open medical informatics journal
Due to severe presence of speckle noise, poor image contrast and irregular lesion shape, it is challenging to build a fully automatic detection and classification system for breast ultrasonic images. In this paper, a novel and effective computer-aided method including generation of a region of interest (ROI), segmentation and classification of breast tumor is proposed without any manual intervention. By incorporating local features of texture and position, a ROI is firstly detected using a self-organizing map neural network. Then a modified Normalized Cut approach considering the weighted neighborhood gray values is proposed to partition the ROI into clusters and get the initial boundary. In addition, a regional-fitting active contour model is used to adjust the few inaccurate initial boundaries for the final segmentation. Finally, three textures and five morphologic features are extracted from each breast tumor; whereby a highly efficient Affinity Propagation clustering is used to fulfill the malignancy and benign classification for an existing database without any training process. The proposed system is validated by 132 cases (67 benignancies and 65 malignancies) with its performance compared to traditional methods such as level set segmentation, artificial neural network classifiers, and so forth. Experiment results show that the proposed system, which needs no training procedure or manual interference, performs best in detection and classification of ultrasonic breast tumors, while having the lowest computation complexity.