Effect of domain knowledge encoding in CNN model architecture—a prostate cancer study using mpMRI images

Piotr Sobecki, Rafał Jóźwiak, Katarzyna Sklinda, Artur Przelaskowski

2021 Peer J, T. 9, e11006, s. 1-17

Background. Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide. Currently, convolution neural networks (CNNs) are achieving remarkable success in various computer vision tasks, and in medical imaging research. Various CNN architectures and methodologies have been applied in the field of prostate cancer diagnosis. In this work, we evaluate the impact of the adaptation of a state-of-theart CNN architecture on domain knowledge related to problems in the diagnosis of prostate cancer. The architecture of the final CNN model was optimised on the basis of the Prostate Imaging Reporting and Data System (PI-RADS) standard, which is currently the best available indicator in the acquisition, interpretation, and reporting
of prostate multi-parametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) examinations.
Methods. A dataset containing 330 suspicious findings identified using mpMRI was used. Two CNN models were subjected to comparative analysis. Both implement the concept of decision-level fusion for mpMRI data, providing a separate network for each multi-parametric series. The first model implements a simple fusion of multiparametric features to formulate the final decision. The architecture of the second model reflects the diagnostic pathway of PI-RADS methodology, using information about a lesion’s primary anatomic location within the prostate gland. Both networks were experimentally tuned to successfully classify prostate cancer changes.
Results. The optimised knowledge-encoded model achieved slightly better classification results compared with the traditional model architecture (AUC = 0.84 vs. AUC = 0.82). We found the proposed model to achieve convergence significantly faster. Conclusions. The final knowledge-encoded CNN model provided more stable learning performance and faster convergence to optimal diagnostic accuracy. The results fail to demonstrate that PI-RADS-based modelling of CNN architecture can significantly improve performance of prostate cancer recognition using mpMRI.