Ovarian cancer detection using optical coherence tomography and convolutional neural networks

David Schwartz, Travis W. Sawyer, Noah Thurston, Jennifer Barton, Gregory Ditzler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Ovarian cancer has the sixth-largest fatality rate in the United States among all cancers. A non-surgical assay capable of detecting ovarian cancer with acceptable sensitivity and specificity has yet to be developed. However, such a discovery would profoundly impact the pace of the treatment and improvement to patients’ quality of life. Achieving such a solution requires high-quality imaging, image processing, and machine learning to support an acceptably robust automated diagnosis. In this work, we propose an automated framework that learns to identify ovarian cancer in transgenic mice from optical coherence tomography (OCT) recordings. Classification is accomplished using a neural network that perceives spatially ordered sequences of tomograms. We present three neural network-based approaches, namely a VGG-supported feed-forward network, a 3D convolutional neural network, and a convolutional LSTM (Long Short-Term Memory) network. Our experimental results show that our models achieve a favorable performance with no manual tuning or feature crafting, despite the challenging noise inherent in OCT images. Specifically, our best performing model, the convolutional LSTM-based neural network, achieves a mean AUC (± standard error) of 0.81 ± 0.037. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, no application of machine learning to analyze depth-resolved OCT images of whole ovaries has been documented in the literature. A significant broader impact of this research is the potential transferability of the proposed diagnostic system from transgenic mice to human organs, which would enable medical intervention from early detection of an extremely deadly affliction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8977-8987
Number of pages11
JournalNeural Computing and Applications
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Deep learning
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Supervised learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Artificial Intelligence


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