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3 March 2011 Development of model observers applied to 3D breast tomosynthesis microcalcifications and masses
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The development of model observers for mimicking human detection strategies has followed from symmetric signals in simple noise to increasingly complex backgrounds. In this study we implement different model observers for the complex task of detecting a signal in a 3D image stack. The backgrounds come from real breast tomosynthesis acquisitions and the signals were simulated and reconstructed within the volume. Two different tasks relevant to the early detection of breast cancer were considered: detecting an 8 mm mass and detecting a cluster of microcalcifications. The model observers were calculated using a channelized Hotelling observer (CHO) with dense difference-of-Gaussian channels, and a modified (Partial prewhitening [PPW]) observer which was adapted to realistic signals which are not circularly symmetric. The sustained temporal sensitivity function was used to filter the images before applying the spatial templates. For a frame rate of five frames per second, the only CHO that we calculated performed worse than the humans in a 4-AFC experiment. The other observers were variations of PPW and outperformed human observers in every single case. This initial frame rate was a rather low speed and the temporal filtering did not affect the results compared to a data set with no human temporal effects taken into account. We subsequently investigated two higher speeds at 5, 15 and 30 frames per second. We observed that for large masses, the two types of model observers investigated outperformed the human observers and would be suitable with the appropriate addition of internal noise. However, for microcalcifications both only the PPW observer consistently outperformed the humans. The study demonstrated the possibility of using a model observer which takes into account the temporal effects of scrolling through an image stack while being able to effectively detect a range of mass sizes and distributions.
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Ivan Diaz, Pontus Timberg, Sheng Zhang, Craig Abbey, Francis Verdun, and François O. Bochud "Development of model observers applied to 3D breast tomosynthesis microcalcifications and masses", Proc. SPIE 7966, Medical Imaging 2011: Image Perception, Observer Performance, and Technology Assessment, 79660F (3 March 2011);

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