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Recalibration of a Deep Learning Model for Low-Dose Computed Tomographic Images to Inform Lung Cancer Screening Intervals.
Pubmed ID
36929398 (View this publication on the PubMed website)
Digital Object Identifier
JAMA Netw Open. 2023 Mar 1; Volume 6 (Issue 3): Pages e233273
Landy R, Wang VL, Baldwin DR, Pinsky PF, Cheung LC, Castle PE, Skarzynski M, Robbins HA, Katki HA
  • Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, Maryland.
  • School of Medicine, Nottingham University Hospitals and the University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom.
  • Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, Maryland.
  • Genomic Epidemiology Group, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France.

IMPORTANCE: Annual low-dose computed tomographic (LDCT) screening reduces lung cancer mortality, but harms could be reduced and cost-effectiveness improved by reusing the LDCT image in conjunction with deep learning or statistical models to identify low-risk individuals for biennial screening.

OBJECTIVE: To identify low-risk individuals in the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) and estimate, had they been assigned a biennial screening, how many lung cancers would have been delayed 1 year in diagnosis.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This diagnostic study included participants with a presumed nonmalignant lung nodule in the NLST between January 1, 2002, and December 31, 2004, with follow-up completed on December 31, 2009. Data were analyzed for this study from September 11, 2019, to March 15, 2022.

EXPOSURES: An externally validated deep learning algorithm that predicts malignancy in current lung nodules using LDCT images (Lung Cancer Prediction Convolutional Neural Network [LCP-CNN]; Optellum Ltd) was recalibrated to predict 1-year lung cancer detection by LDCT for presumed nonmalignant nodules. Individuals with presumed nonmalignant lung nodules were hypothetically assigned annual vs biennial screening based on the recalibrated LCP-CNN model, Lung Cancer Risk Assessment Tool (LCRAT + CT [a statistical model combining individual risk factors and LDCT image features]), and the American College of Radiology recommendations for lung nodules, version 1.1 (Lung-RADS).

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Primary outcomes included model prediction performance, the absolute risk of a 1-year delay in cancer diagnosis, and the proportion of people without lung cancer assigned a biennial screening interval vs the proportion of cancer diagnoses delayed.

RESULTS: The study included 10 831 LDCT images from patients with presumed nonmalignant lung nodules (58.7% men; mean [SD] age, 61.9 [5.0] years), of whom 195 were diagnosed with lung cancer from the subsequent screen. The recalibrated LCP-CNN had substantially higher area under the curve (0.87) than LCRAT + CT (0.79) or Lung-RADS (0.69) to predict 1-year lung cancer risk (P < .001). If 66% of screens with nodules were assigned to biennial screening, the absolute risk of a 1-year delay in cancer diagnosis would have been lower for recalibrated LCP-CNN (0.28%) than LCRAT + CT (0.60%; P = .001) or Lung-RADS (0.97%; P < .001). To delay only 10% of cancer diagnoses at 1 year, more people would have been safely assigned biennial screening under LCP-CNN than LCRAT + CT (66.4% vs 40.3%; P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this diagnostic study evaluating models of lung cancer risk, a recalibrated deep learning algorithm was most predictive of 1-year lung cancer risk and had least risk of 1-year delay in cancer diagnosis among people assigned biennial screening. Deep learning algorithms could prioritize people for workup of suspicious nodules and decrease screening intensity for people with low-risk nodules, which may be vital for implementation in health care systems.

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