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Title: Discovering anomalous patterns in large digital pathology images

Advances in medical imaging technology have created opportunities for computer‐aided diagnostic tools to assist human practitioners in identifying relevant patterns in massive, multiscale digital pathology slides. This work presents Hierarchical Linear Time Subset Scanning, a novel statistical method for pattern detection. Hierarchical Linear Time Subset Scanning exploits the hierarchical structure inherent in data produced through virtual microscopy in order to accurately and quickly identify regions of interest for pathologists to review. We take a digital image at various resolution levels, identify the most anomalous regions at a coarse level, and continue to analyze the data at increasingly granular resolutions until we accurately identify its most anomalous subregions. We demonstrate the performance of our novel method in identifying cancerous locations on digital slides of prostate biopsy samples and show that our methods detect regions of cancer in minutes with high accuracy, both as measured by the ROC curve (measuring ability to distinguish between benign and cancerous slides) and by the spatial precision‐recall curve (measuring ability to pick out the malignant areas on a slide which contains cancer). Existing methods need small scale images (small areas of a slide preselected by the pathologist for analysis, eg, 32 × 32 pixels) and may not work effectively on large, raw digitized images of size 100K × 100Kpixels. In this work, we provide a methodology to fill this significant gap by analyzing large digitized images and identifying regions of interest that may be indicative of cancer.

 
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NSF-PAR ID:
10060361
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Statistics in Medicine
Volume:
37
Issue:
25
ISSN:
0277-6715
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 3599-3615
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Obeid, I. (Ed.)
    The Neural Engineering Data Consortium (NEDC) is developing the Temple University Digital Pathology Corpus (TUDP), an open source database of high-resolution images from scanned pathology samples [1], as part of its National Science Foundation-funded Major Research Instrumentation grant titled “MRI: High Performance Digital Pathology Using Big Data and Machine Learning” [2]. The long-term goal of this project is to release one million images. We have currently scanned over 100,000 images and are in the process of annotating breast tissue data for our first official corpus release, v1.0.0. This release contains 3,505 annotated images of breast tissue including 74 patients with cancerous diagnoses (out of a total of 296 patients). In this poster, we will present an analysis of this corpus and discuss the challenges we have faced in efficiently producing high quality annotations of breast tissue. It is well known that state of the art algorithms in machine learning require vast amounts of data. Fields such as speech recognition [3], image recognition [4] and text processing [5] are able to deliver impressive performance with complex deep learning models because they have developed large corpora to support training of extremely high-dimensional models (e.g., billions of parameters). Other fields that do not have access to such data resources must rely on techniques in which existing models can be adapted to new datasets [6]. A preliminary version of this breast corpus release was tested in a pilot study using a baseline machine learning system, ResNet18 [7], that leverages several open-source Python tools. The pilot corpus was divided into three sets: train, development, and evaluation. Portions of these slides were manually annotated [1] using the nine labels in Table 1 [8] to identify five to ten examples of pathological features on each slide. Not every pathological feature is annotated, meaning excluded areas can include focuses particular to these labels that are not used for training. A summary of the number of patches within each label is given in Table 2. To maintain a balanced training set, 1,000 patches of each label were used to train the machine learning model. Throughout all sets, only annotated patches were involved in model development. The performance of this model in identifying all the patches in the evaluation set can be seen in the confusion matrix of classification accuracy in Table 3. The highest performing labels were background, 97% correct identification, and artifact, 76% correct identification. A correlation exists between labels with more than 6,000 development patches and accurate performance on the evaluation set. Additionally, these results indicated a need to further refine the annotation of invasive ductal carcinoma (“indc”), inflammation (“infl”), nonneoplastic features (“nneo”), normal (“norm”) and suspicious (“susp”). This pilot experiment motivated changes to the corpus that will be discussed in detail in this poster presentation. To increase the accuracy of the machine learning model, we modified how we addressed underperforming labels. One common source of error arose with how non-background labels were converted into patches. Large areas of background within other labels were isolated within a patch resulting in connective tissue misrepresenting a non-background label. In response, the annotation overlay margins were revised to exclude benign connective tissue in non-background labels. Corresponding patient reports and supporting immunohistochemical stains further guided annotation reviews. The microscopic diagnoses given by the primary pathologist in these reports detail the pathological findings within each tissue site, but not within each specific slide. The microscopic diagnoses informed revisions specifically targeting annotated regions classified as cancerous, ensuring that the labels “indc” and “dcis” were used only in situations where a micropathologist diagnosed it as such. Further differentiation of cancerous and precancerous labels, as well as the location of their focus on a slide, could be accomplished with supplemental immunohistochemically (IHC) stained slides. When distinguishing whether a focus is a nonneoplastic feature versus a cancerous growth, pathologists employ antigen targeting stains to the tissue in question to confirm the diagnosis. For example, a nonneoplastic feature of usual ductal hyperplasia will display diffuse staining for cytokeratin 5 (CK5) and no diffuse staining for estrogen receptor (ER), while a cancerous growth of ductal carcinoma in situ will have negative or focally positive staining for CK5 and diffuse staining for ER [9]. Many tissue samples contain cancerous and non-cancerous features with morphological overlaps that cause variability between annotators. The informative fields IHC slides provide could play an integral role in machine model pathology diagnostics. Following the revisions made on all the annotations, a second experiment was run using ResNet18. Compared to the pilot study, an increase of model prediction accuracy was seen for the labels indc, infl, nneo, norm, and null. This increase is correlated with an increase in annotated area and annotation accuracy. Model performance in identifying the suspicious label decreased by 25% due to the decrease of 57% in the total annotated area described by this label. A summary of the model performance is given in Table 4, which shows the new prediction accuracy and the absolute change in error rate compared to Table 3. The breast tissue subset we are developing includes 3,505 annotated breast pathology slides from 296 patients. The average size of a scanned SVS file is 363 MB. The annotations are stored in an XML format. A CSV version of the annotation file is also available which provides a flat, or simple, annotation that is easy for machine learning researchers to access and interface to their systems. Each patient is identified by an anonymized medical reference number. Within each patient’s directory, one or more sessions are identified, also anonymized to the first of the month in which the sample was taken. These sessions are broken into groupings of tissue taken on that date (in this case, breast tissue). A deidentified patient report stored as a flat text file is also available. Within these slides there are a total of 16,971 total annotated regions with an average of 4.84 annotations per slide. Among those annotations, 8,035 are non-cancerous (normal, background, null, and artifact,) 6,222 are carcinogenic signs (inflammation, nonneoplastic and suspicious,) and 2,714 are cancerous labels (ductal carcinoma in situ and invasive ductal carcinoma in situ.) The individual patients are split up into three sets: train, development, and evaluation. Of the 74 cancerous patients, 20 were allotted for both the development and evaluation sets, while the remain 34 were allotted for train. The remaining 222 patients were split up to preserve the overall distribution of labels within the corpus. This was done in hope of creating control sets for comparable studies. Overall, the development and evaluation sets each have 80 patients, while the training set has 136 patients. In a related component of this project, slides from the Fox Chase Cancer Center (FCCC) Biosample Repository (https://www.foxchase.org/research/facilities/genetic-research-facilities/biosample-repository -facility) are being digitized in addition to slides provided by Temple University Hospital. This data includes 18 different types of tissue including approximately 38.5% urinary tissue and 16.5% gynecological tissue. These slides and the metadata provided with them are already anonymized and include diagnoses in a spreadsheet with sample and patient ID. We plan to release over 13,000 unannotated slides from the FCCC Corpus simultaneously with v1.0.0 of TUDP. Details of this release will also be discussed in this poster. Few digitally annotated databases of pathology samples like TUDP exist due to the extensive data collection and processing required. The breast corpus subset should be released by November 2021. By December 2021 we should also release the unannotated FCCC data. We are currently annotating urinary tract data as well. We expect to release about 5,600 processed TUH slides in this subset. We have an additional 53,000 unprocessed TUH slides digitized. Corpora of this size will stimulate the development of a new generation of deep learning technology. In clinical settings where resources are limited, an assistive diagnoses model could support pathologists’ workload and even help prioritize suspected cancerous cases. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This material is supported by the National Science Foundation under grants nos. CNS-1726188 and 1925494. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. REFERENCES [1] N. Shawki et al., “The Temple University Digital Pathology Corpus,” in Signal Processing in Medicine and Biology: Emerging Trends in Research and Applications, 1st ed., I. Obeid, I. Selesnick, and J. Picone, Eds. New York City, New York, USA: Springer, 2020, pp. 67 104. https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030368432. [2] J. Picone, T. Farkas, I. Obeid, and Y. Persidsky, “MRI: High Performance Digital Pathology Using Big Data and Machine Learning.” Major Research Instrumentation (MRI), Division of Computer and Network Systems, Award No. 1726188, January 1, 2018 – December 31, 2021. https://www. isip.piconepress.com/projects/nsf_dpath/. [3] A. Gulati et al., “Conformer: Convolution-augmented Transformer for Speech Recognition,” in Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH), 2020, pp. 5036-5040. https://doi.org/10.21437/interspeech.2020-3015. [4] C.-J. Wu et al., “Machine Learning at Facebook: Understanding Inference at the Edge,” in Proceedings of the IEEE International Symposium on High Performance Computer Architecture (HPCA), 2019, pp. 331–344. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8675201. [5] I. Caswell and B. Liang, “Recent Advances in Google Translate,” Google AI Blog: The latest from Google Research, 2020. [Online]. Available: https://ai.googleblog.com/2020/06/recent-advances-in-google-translate.html. [Accessed: 01-Aug-2021]. [6] V. Khalkhali, N. Shawki, V. Shah, M. Golmohammadi, I. Obeid, and J. Picone, “Low Latency Real-Time Seizure Detection Using Transfer Deep Learning,” in Proceedings of the IEEE Signal Processing in Medicine and Biology Symposium (SPMB), 2021, pp. 1 7. https://www.isip. piconepress.com/publications/conference_proceedings/2021/ieee_spmb/eeg_transfer_learning/. [7] J. Picone, T. Farkas, I. Obeid, and Y. Persidsky, “MRI: High Performance Digital Pathology Using Big Data and Machine Learning,” Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, 2020. https://www.isip.piconepress.com/publications/reports/2020/nsf/mri_dpath/. [8] I. Hunt, S. Husain, J. Simons, I. Obeid, and J. Picone, “Recent Advances in the Temple University Digital Pathology Corpus,” in Proceedings of the IEEE Signal Processing in Medicine and Biology Symposium (SPMB), 2019, pp. 1–4. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9037859. [9] A. P. Martinez, C. Cohen, K. Z. Hanley, and X. (Bill) Li, “Estrogen Receptor and Cytokeratin 5 Are Reliable Markers to Separate Usual Ductal Hyperplasia From Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia and Low-Grade Ductal Carcinoma In Situ,” Arch. Pathol. Lab. Med., vol. 140, no. 7, pp. 686–689, Apr. 2016. https://doi.org/10.5858/arpa.2015-0238-OA. 
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  3. Obeid, Iyad ; Picone, Joseph ; Selesnick, Ivan (Ed.)
    The Neural Engineering Data Consortium (NEDC) is developing a large open source database of high-resolution digital pathology images known as the Temple University Digital Pathology Corpus (TUDP) [1]. Our long-term goal is to release one million images. We expect to release the first 100,000 image corpus by December 2020. The data is being acquired at the Department of Pathology at Temple University Hospital (TUH) using a Leica Biosystems Aperio AT2 scanner [2] and consists entirely of clinical pathology images. More information about the data and the project can be found in Shawki et al. [3]. We currently have a National Science Foundation (NSF) planning grant [4] to explore how best the community can leverage this resource. One goal of this poster presentation is to stimulate community-wide discussions about this project and determine how this valuable resource can best meet the needs of the public. The computing infrastructure required to support this database is extensive [5] and includes two HIPAA-secure computer networks, dual petabyte file servers, and Aperio’s eSlide Manager (eSM) software [6]. We currently have digitized over 50,000 slides from 2,846 patients and 2,942 clinical cases. There is an average of 12.4 slides per patient and 10.5 slides per case with one report per case. The data is organized by tissue type as shown below: Filenames: tudp/v1.0.0/svs/gastro/000001/00123456/2015_03_05/0s15_12345/0s15_12345_0a001_00123456_lvl0001_s000.svs tudp/v1.0.0/svs/gastro/000001/00123456/2015_03_05/0s15_12345/0s15_12345_00123456.docx Explanation: tudp: root directory of the corpus v1.0.0: version number of the release svs: the image data type gastro: the type of tissue 000001: six-digit sequence number used to control directory complexity 00123456: 8-digit patient MRN 2015_03_05: the date the specimen was captured 0s15_12345: the clinical case name 0s15_12345_0a001_00123456_lvl0001_s000.svs: the actual image filename consisting of a repeat of the case name, a site code (e.g., 0a001), the type and depth of the cut (e.g., lvl0001) and a token number (e.g., s000) 0s15_12345_00123456.docx: the filename for the corresponding case report We currently recognize fifteen tissue types in the first installment of the corpus. 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    Because the diversity of pollen taxa in environmental and palaeontological samples follows a long‐tailed distribution, we experimented with methods for addressing imbalanced representation using our most abundant 46 taxa. We found that properly weighting pollen taxa in our training objective functions yielded improved accuracy for individual taxa. Our average accuracy for the 46‐way classification problem was 82.3%. We achieved 89.5% accuracy for our 25 most abundant taxa.

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