Parameter estimation in stochastic mammogram model by heuristic optimization techniques

S. Easter Selvan, C. Cecil Xavier, Nico Karssemeijer, Jean Sequeira, Rekha A. Cherian, Bharathi Y. Dhala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The appearance of disproportionately large amounts of high-density breast parenchyma in mammograms has been found to be a strong indicator of the risk of developing breast cancer. Hence, the breast density model is popular for risk estimation or for monitoring breast density change in prevention or intervention programs. However, the efficiency of such a stochastic model depends on the accuracy of estimation of the model's parameter set. We propose a new approach - heuristic optimization - to estimate more accurately the model parameter set as compared to the conventional and popular expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm. After initial segmentation of a given mammogram, the finite generalized Gaussian mixture (FGGM) model is constructed by computing the statistics associated with different image regions. The model parameter set thus obtained is estimated by particle swarm optimization (PSO) and evolutionary programming (EP) techniques, where the objective function to be minimized is the relative entropy between the image histogram and the estimated density distributions. When our heuristic approach was applied to different categories of mammograms from the Mini-MIAS database, it yielded lower floor of estimation error in 109 out of 112 cases (97.3%), and 101 out of 102 cases (99.0%), for the number of image regions being five and eight, respectively, with the added advantage of faster convergence rate, when compared to the EM approach. Besides, the estimated density model preserves the number of regions specified by the information-theoretic criteria in all the test cases, and the assessment of the segmentation results by radiologists is promising.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)685-695
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Technology in Biomedicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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