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Early detection of breast cancer is one of the most important factors in determining prognosis for women with malignant tumors. Dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) has been shown to be the most sensitive modality for screening high-risk women. Computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) systems have the potential to assist radiologists in the early detection of cancer. A key component of the development of such a CAD system will be the selection of an appropriate classification function responsible for separating malignant and benign lesions. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effects of variations in temporal feature vectors and kernel functions on the separation of malignant and benign DCE-MRI breast lesions by support vector machines (SVMs). We also propose and demonstrate a classifier visualization and evaluation technique. We show that SVMs provide an effective and flexible framework from which to base CAD techniques for breast MRI, and that the proposed classifier visualization technique has potential as a mechanism for the evaluation of classification solutions.
Date of Publication: May 2008