Spatial Enhancement by Dehazing for Detection of Microcalcifications with Convolutional Nets

  • Alessandro Bria
  • Claudio Marrocco
  • Adrian Galdran
  • Aurélio Campilho
  • Agnese Marchesi
  • Jan-Jurre Mordang
  • Nico Karssemeijer
  • Mario Molinara
  • Francesco Tortorella
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10485)


Microcalcifications are early indicators of breast cancer that appear on mammograms as small bright regions within the breast tissue. To assist screening radiologists in reading mammograms, supervised learning techniques have been found successful to detect microcalcifications automatically. Among them, Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) can automatically learn and extract low-level features that capture contrast and spatial information, and use these features to build robust classifiers. Therefore, spatial enhancement that enhances local contrast based on spatial context is expected to positively influence the learning task of the CNN and, as a result, its classification performance. In this work, we propose a novel spatial enhancement technique for microcalcifications based on the removal of haze, an apparently unrelated phenomenon that causes image degradation due to atmospheric absorption and scattering. We tested the influence of dehazing of digital mammograms on the microcalcification detection performance of two CNNs inspired by the popular AlexNet and VGGnet. Experiments were performed on 1, 066 mammograms acquired with GE Senographe systems. Statistically significantly better microcalcification detection performance was obtained when dehazing was used as preprocessing. Results of dehazing were superior also to those obtained with Contrast Limited Adaptive Histogram Equalization (CLAHE).


Spatial enhancement Dehazing Microcalcification detection Convolutional neural networks CAD 



The authors from University of Cassino gratefully acknowledge the support of NVIDIA Corporation for the donation of the Titan X Pascal GPUs.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandro Bria
    • 1
  • Claudio Marrocco
    • 1
  • Adrian Galdran
    • 2
  • Aurélio Campilho
    • 2
    • 3
  • Agnese Marchesi
    • 1
  • Jan-Jurre Mordang
    • 4
  • Nico Karssemeijer
    • 4
  • Mario Molinara
    • 1
  • Francesco Tortorella
    • 1
  1. 1.DIEIUniversity of Cassino and Southern LatiumCassinoItaly
  2. 2.INESC TEC, Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and SciencePortoPortugal
  3. 3.Faculdade de EngenhariaUniversidade do PortoPortoPortugal
  4. 4.DIAGRadboud University Nijmegen Medical CentreNijmegenThe Netherlands

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