Clinical validation of S-DetectTM mode in semi-automated ultrasound classification of thyroid lesions in surgical office

Marcin Barczyński, Małgorzata Stopa-Barczyńska, Beata Wojtczak, Agnieszka Czarniecka, Aleksander Konturek


Background: In recent years well-recognized scientific societies introduced guidelines for ultrasound (US) malignancy risk stratification of thyroid nodules. These guidelines categorize the risk of malignancy in relation to a combination of several US features. Based on these US image lexicons an US-based computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) systems were developed. Nevertheless, their clinical utility has not been evaluated in any study of surgeon-performed office US of the thyroid. Hence, the aim of this pilot study was to validate s-DetectTM mode in semi-automated US classification of thyroid lesions during surgeon-performed office US.
Methods: This is a prospective study of 50 patients who underwent surgeon-performed thyroid US (basic US skills without CAD vs. with CAD vs. expert US skills without CAD) in the out-patient office as part of the preoperative workup. The real-time CAD system software using artificial intelligence (S-DetectTM for Thyroid; Samsung Medison Co.) was integrated into the RS85 US system. Primary outcome was CAD system added-value to the surgeon-performed office US evaluation. Secondary outcomes were: diagnostic accuracy of CAD system, intra and interobserver variability in the US assessment of thyroid nodules. Surgical pathology report was used to validate the pre-surgical diagnosis.
Results: CAD system added-value to thyroid assessment by a surgeon with basic US skills was equal to 6% (overall accuracy of 82% for evaluation with CAD vs. 76% for evaluation without CAD system; P<0.001), and final diagnosis was different than predicted by US assessment in 3 patients (1 more true-positive and 2 more true-negative results). However, CAD system was inferior to thyroid assessment by a surgeon with expert US skills in 6 patients who had false-positive results (P<0.001).
Conclusions: The sensitivity and negative predictive value of CAD system for US classification of thyroid lesions were similar as surgeon with expert US skills whereas specificity and positive predictive value were significantly inferior but markedly better than judgement of a surgeon with basic US skills alone.