Neural Networks in Medicine: Improving Difficult Automated Detection of Cancer in the Bile Ducts

Neural Networks in Medicine: Improving Difficult Automated Detection of Cancer in the Bile Ducts

Rajasvaran Logeswaran (Multimedia University, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-705-8.ch006
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Automatic detection of tumors in the bile ducts of the liver is very difficult as often, in the defacto noninvasive diagnostic images using magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP), tumors are not clearly visible. Specialists use their experience in anatomy to diagnose a tumor by absence of expected structures in the images. Naturally, undertaking such diagnosis is very difficult for an automated system. This chapter proposes an algorithm that is based on a combination of the manual diagnosis principles along with nature-inspired image processing techniques and artificial neural networks (ANN) to assist in the preliminary diagnosis of tumors affecting the bile ducts in the liver. The results obtained show over 88% success rate of the system developed using an ANN with the multi-layer perceptron (MLP) architecture, in performing the difficult automated preliminary detection of the tumors, even in the robust clinical test images with other biliary diseases present.
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Bile is used in the digestion and absorption of fat-soluble minerals and vitamins in the small intestines. In addition, it also has the function of removing soluble waste products from the body, including cholesterol. Diseases affecting the biliary tract cause distension (swelling) in the bile ducts, blockages, swelling of the liver and build up of toxic waste in the body, which can be fatal. Tumor of the bile ducts, medically known as cholangiocarcinoma, is the second most common primary malignant tumor of the liver after hepatocellular carcinoma and comprises approximately 10% to 15% of all primary hepatobiliary malignancies (Yoon & Gores, 2003). The incidence of this disease has been on the rise in recent decades (Patel, 2002). It is highly lethal as most tumors are locally advanced at presentation (Chari et al., 2008). These tumors produce symptoms by blocking the bile duct, often seen in clinical diagnosis as clay colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), itching, abdominal pain that may extend to the back, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, fever, chills (UCSF, 2008) and dark urine (Chari et al., 2008).

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