Mathematical methods for diagnosing breast cancer

May 16, 2018, Kaunas University of Technology
100 microscope images of breast tissue were analyzed in order to teach computer to recognize malignancy; 85 percent accuracy rate was achieved. Credit: KTU

A team of researchers at Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania, is developing mathematical methods to diagnose breast cancer. Applying deep learning, the researchers are aiming to teach a computer to recognise malignant lesions, which could at least partially automatize and enhance the accuracy of diagnosing breast cancer.

In 2014, around 93.5 thousand people died from in the EU, the vast majority of whom were women (92,500). Among women, breast cancer accounted for 3.7 percent of all deaths. According to the World Health Organisation, more than 1 million new breast cancer cases are diagnosed every year. The international community of medical professionals is warning that the incidence of oncological diseases is rising; in the last 15 years in Lithuania, the cancer rate increased by 75 percent.

For better treatment and prognosis of cancer patients, early diagnosis is the key. "Often in , oncologists rely on visual information—the image of the tissue is analysed in order to determine the nature of the lesions. This process is time-consuming, and the probability of mistakes is non-zero, which, in the case of cancer, can be fatal. By developing mathematical methods for cancer diagnosis, we aim to automatize the diagnosis and to minimize the occurrence of mistakes," says Dr. Tomas Iešmantas, postdoctoral researcher at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU).

For diagnosing , he has adapted the capsule neural network introduced by the British researcher Geoffrey Hinton, one of the founding fathers of (machine learning method). Dr. Iešmantas and his postdoctoral research supervisor Professor Robertas Alzbutas have analysed 100 microscope images of breast tissue provided by the University of Porto, Portugal. There were four types of images in the sample: those of non-cancerous tissue, of non-malignant tumour tissue, of non-invasive and invasive carcinomas. The aim of the investigation was to design a mathematical method for classifying the images into the four types mentioned.

"The early results are very promising—we have achieved an 85 percent accuracy rate," says KTU researcher.

He will introduce the results of the research in the 15th International Conference on Image Analysis and Recognition in Portugal. According to Dr. Iešmantas, although the application of in medicine has expanded in recent years, and computers are being taught to diagnose lesions in lungs, to recognise metastasis in lymph nodes, and to localise brain tumours, it is not very likely that cancer diagnosis will become fully automatized in the near future.

"The research is not only conducted on theoretical level. There are some cases where these methods have already been applied in clinical practice. Even though digitalisation will not replace human judgement, I believe that automatized computer diagnosis will become more common with time and will help to more accurately identify and diagnose certain types of cancer," says Dr. Iešmantas.

Explore further: Breast cancer detected in transmen undergoing mastectomy

Related Stories

Breast cancer detected in transmen undergoing mastectomy

April 5, 2018
The number of transmen seeking gender-confirming surgery has risen in the past decade. In a paper published in the British Journal of Surgery analysing breast tissue from 344 transmen undergoing mastectomy, breast lesions—either ...

Prognostic role of elevated mir-24-3p in breast cancer

March 1, 2018
Despite improvements in local, regional and systemic therapies for breast cancer, 40,610 women are expected to die from metastatic breast cancer in the US in 2017.

How advanced imaging technologies will prevent unnecessary breast tissue biopsies

February 21, 2018
Enhancing the diagnosis of breast cancer is the goal of a research team at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg. The scientists have combined an advanced method of diffusion-weighted MR imaging with intelligent ...

Breast cancer's spread routes mapped

February 27, 2018
Breast cancer spreads to other organs in the body according to certain specific patterns. This has been shown by a team of researchers from Karolinska Institutet and KTH in Sweden and the University of Helsinki in Finland ...

Breast cancer awareness: What women need to know

September 28, 2016
As national Breast Cancer Awareness Months begins next week, breast health expert Dr. Sharon Koehler of New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, says women need to know the following five things:

Scientists identify breast cancer patients who may develop incurable secondary cancers

January 9, 2018
Scientists from King's College London, funded by Breast Cancer Now, believe they have found a way to identify lymph-node positive breast cancer patients who are most likely to develop incurable secondary tumours (metastases) ...

Recommended for you

Scientists discover new method of diagnosing cancer with malaria protein

August 17, 2018
In a spectacular new study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have discovered a method of diagnosing a broad range of cancers at their early stages by utilising a particular malaria protein that sticks to cancer ...

Researchers find pathways that uncover insight into development of lung cancer

August 17, 2018
Lung cancer is the leading cause of preventable cancer death. A disease of complex origin, lung cancer is usually considered to result from effects of smoking and from multiple genetic variants. One of these genetic components, ...

Developing an on-off switch for breast cancer treatment

August 17, 2018
T-cells play an important role in the body's immune system, and one of their tasks is to find and destroy infection. However, T-cells struggle to identify solid, cancerous tumors in the body. A current cancer therapy is using ...

Pregnant? Eating broccoli sprouts may reduce child's chances of breast cancer later in life

August 16, 2018
Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have found that a plant-based diet is more effective in preventing breast cancer later in life for the child if the mother consumed broccoli while pregnant. The 2018 ...

Scientists discover chemical which can kill glioblastoma cells

August 15, 2018
Aggressive brain tumour cells taken from patients self-destructed after being exposed to a chemical in laboratory tests, researchers have shown.

Three scientists share $500,000 prize for work on cancer therapy

August 15, 2018
Tumors once considered untreatable have disappeared and people previously given months to live are surviving for decades thanks to new therapies emerging from the work of three scientists chosen to receive a $500,000 medical ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.