Label-noise-tolerant medical image classification via self-attention and self-supervised learning

by   Hongyang Jiang, et al.

Deep neural networks (DNNs) have been widely applied in medical image classification and achieve remarkable classification performance. These achievements heavily depend on large-scale accurately annotated training data. However, label noise is inevitably introduced in the medical image annotation, as the labeling process heavily relies on the expertise and experience of annotators. Meanwhile, DNNs suffer from overfitting noisy labels, degrading the performance of models. Therefore, in this work, we innovatively devise noise-robust training approach to mitigate the adverse effects of noisy labels in medical image classification. Specifically, we incorporate contrastive learning and intra-group attention mixup strategies into the vanilla supervised learning. The contrastive learning for feature extractor helps to enhance visual representation of DNNs. The intra-group attention mixup module constructs groups and assigns self-attention weights for group-wise samples, and subsequently interpolates massive noisy-suppressed samples through weighted mixup operation. We conduct comparative experiments on both synthetic and real-world noisy medical datasets under various noise levels. Rigorous experiments validate that our noise-robust method with contrastive learning and attention mixup can effectively handle with label noise, and is superior to state-of-the-art methods. An ablation study also shows that both components contribute to boost model performance. The proposed method demonstrates its capability of curb label noise and has certain potential toward real-world clinic applications.


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