Using artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, an international research team led by Chinese scientists has developed a rapid and accurate screening model to detect lymph nodes, which can assist doctors in cancer treatment.
Lymph nodes are the human immune system's first line of defense, protecting people from illnesses and virus infections. In the human body, lymph nodes are hundreds of small, round or bean-shaped glands that gather in the neck, armpit, abdomen and groin, reports Xinhua.
However, the current MRI screening methods are time-consuming and can not identify all the lymph nodes in the scan regions, lowering the detection accuracy.
Based on MRI image data selected from 293 patients with rectal cancer at the Sixth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University from 2013 to 2016, researchers developed the AI-assisted screening model.
The researchers tested the AI model in patients at four medical centers in Guangzhou, Beijing, Suzhou and Guizhou, and compared its results with those of four Chinese radiologists, specializing in gastrointestinal diseases.
The results showed that it can accurately identify 3-mm-diameter lymph nodes with a detection accuracy of 80 percent.
The results were recently published in the journal EBioMedicine under The Lancet. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health also participated in the study.
The AI model can also be used to detect metastatic cancers in other human organs or tissue, according to lead researcher Gao Xin.
"We believe the AI-assisted screening model can save a great deal of manual labor and improve clinical efficiency, which will benefit more patients," said Gao.