Comparing Ensembles of Learners: Detecting Prostate Cancer from High Resolution MRI
While learning ensembles have been widely used for various pattern recognition tasks, surprisingly, they have found limited application in problems related to medical image analysis and computer-aided diagnosis (CAD). In this paper we investigate the performance of several state-of-the-art machine-learning methods on a CAD method for detecting prostatic adenocarcinoma from high resolution (4 Tesla) ex vivo MRI studies. A total of 14 different feature ensemble methods from 4 different families of ensemble methods were compared: Bayesian learning, Boosting, Bagging, and the k-Nearest Neighbor (kNN) classifier. Quantitative comparison of the methods was done on a total of 33 2D sections obtained from 5 different 3D MRI prostate studies. The tumor ground truth was determined on histologic sections and the regions manually mapped onto the corresponding individual MRI slices. All methods considered were found to be robust to changes in parameter settings and showed significantly less classification variability compared to inter-observer agreement among 5 experts. The kNN classifier was the best in terms of accuracy and ease of training, thus validating the principle of Occam’s Razor. The success of a simple non-parametric classifier requiring minimal training is significant for medical image analysis applications where large amounts of training data are usually unavailable.
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