Study finds Google AI could improve breast cancer detection
CHICAGO : A Google artificial intelligence (AI) system proved as good as expert radiologists at detecting which women had breast cancer based on screening mammograms and showed promise at reducing errors, researchers in the United States and Britain reported.
The study, published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, is the latest to show that AI has the potential to improve the accuracy of screening for breast cancer, which affects one in eight women globally.
Radiologists miss about 20 per cent of breast cancers in mammograms, the American Cancer Society says, and half of all women who get the screenings over a 10-year period have a false positive result.
The findings of the study, developed with Alphabet Inc's DeepMind AI unit, which merged with Google Health in September, represent a major advance in the potential for the early detection of breast cancer, Dr Mozziyar Etemadi, one of its co-authors from Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, said.
The team, which included researchers at Imperial College London and Britain's National Health Service, trained the system to identify breast cancers on tens of thousands of mammograms.
They then compared the system's performance with the actual results from a set of 25,856 mammograms in the UK and 3,097 from the US.
The study showed the AI system could identify cancers with a similar degree of accuracy to expert radiologists, while reducing the number of false positive results by 5.7 per cent in the US-based group and by 1.2 per cent in the British-based group.
It also cut the number of false negatives, where tests are wrongly classified as normal.
In a separate test, the group pitted the AI system against six radiologists and found it outperformed them at accurately detecting breast cancers.
Chief of the breast imaging department at Harvard's Massachusetts General Hospital Connie Lehman said the results are in line with findings from several groups using AI to improve cancer detection in mammograms, including her own work. - REUTERS