Weakly supervised thoracic disease localization via disease masks

Hong Gyu Jung, Woo Jeoung Nam, Hyun Woo Kim, Seong Whan Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


To enable a deep learning-based system to be used in the medical domain as a computer-aided diagnosis system, it is essential to not only classify diseases but also present the locations of the diseases. However, collecting instance-level annotations for various thoracic diseases is expensive. Therefore, weakly supervised localization methods have been proposed that use only image-level annotation. While the previous methods presented the disease location as the most discriminative part for classification, this causes a deep network to localize wrong areas for indistinguishable X-ray images. To solve this issue, we propose a spatial attention method using disease masks that describe the areas where diseases mainly occur. We then apply the spatial attention to find the precise disease area by highlighting the highest probability of disease occurrence. Meanwhile, the various sizes, rotations and noise in chest X-ray images make generating the disease masks challenging. To reduce the variation among images, we employ an alignment module to transform an input X-ray image into a generalized image. Through extensive experiments on the NIH-Chest X-ray dataset with eight kinds of diseases, we show that the proposed method results in superior localization performances compared to state-of-the-art methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-43
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jan 14

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • Localization
  • Thoracic disease
  • Weakly supervised learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence


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