To screen for lung cancer, radiologists typically view hundreds of images from a single CT scan. With this new AI model, Google can generate an overall lung cancer malignancy prediction and identify subtle malignant tissue, or lung nodules, which are often difficult to see. The AI also factors in previous scans, which can help reveal the growth rate of suspicious tissue.
To test the model, Google asked its AI to examine 45,856 chest CT screens. It compared the results against six board-certified radiologists. In these first studies, Google's AI detected five percent more cancer cases than the radiologists. It also reduced false-positive exams by more than 11 percent.
The model needs additional clinical research and testing before it can be deployed, but Google says the initial results are encouraging. The company also notes that only two to four percent of eligible patients in the US are screened for lung cancer. Like its other AI-based disease detection tools, Google hopes this one might make early detection more accessible.