A deep learning model for molecular label transfer that enables cancer cell identification from histopathology images. NPJ precision oncology Su, A., Lee, H., Tan, X., Suarez, C. J., Andor, N., Nguyen, Q., Ji, H. P. 2022; 6 (1): 14


Deep-learning classification systems have the potential to improve cancer diagnosis. However, development of these computational approaches so far depends on prior pathological annotations and large training datasets. The manual annotation is low-resolution, time-consuming, highly variable and subject to observer variance. To address this issue, we developed a method, H&E Molecular neural network (HEMnet). HEMnet utilizes immunohistochemistry as an initial molecular label for cancer cells on a H&E image and trains a cancer classifier on the overlapping clinical histopathological images. Using this molecular transfer method, HEMnet successfully generated and labeled 21,939 tumor and 8782 normal tiles from ten whole-slide images for model training. After building the model, HEMnet accurately identified colorectal cancer regions, which achieved 0.84 and 0.73 of ROC AUC values compared to p53 staining and pathological annotations, respectively. Our validation study using histopathology images from TCGA samples accurately estimated tumor purity, which showed a significant correlation (regression coefficient of 0.8) with the estimation based on genomic sequencing data. Thus, HEMnet contributes to addressing two main challenges in cancer deep-learning analysis, namely the need to have a large number of images for training and the dependence on manual labeling by a pathologist. HEMnet also predicts cancer cells at a much higher resolution compared to manual histopathologic evaluation. Overall, our method provides a path towards a fully automated delineation of any type of tumor so long as there is a cancer-oriented molecular stain available for subsequent learning. Software, tutorials and interactive tools are available at: https://github.com/BiomedicalMachineLearning/HEMnet.

View details for DOI 10.1038/s41698-022-00252-0

View details for PubMedID 35236916