Journal Article
. 2019 Jul; 2019:3041250.
doi: 10.1155/2019/3041250.

Direct Cellularity Estimation on Breast Cancer Histopathology Images Using Transfer Learning

Ziang Pei 1 Shuangliang Cao 1 Lijun Lu 1 Wufan Chen 1 
  • PMID: 31281408
  •     25 References
  •     4 citations


Residual cancer burden (RCB) has been proposed to measure the postneoadjuvant breast cancer response. In the workflow of RCB assessment, estimation of cancer cellularity is a critical task, which is conventionally achieved by manually reviewing the hematoxylin and eosin- (H&E-) stained microscopic slides of cancer sections. In this work, we develop an automatic and direct method to estimate cellularity from histopathological image patches using deep feature representation, tree boosting, and support vector machine (SVM), avoiding the segmentation and classification of nuclei. Using a training set of 2394 patches and a test set of 185 patches, the estimations by our method show strong correlation to those by the human pathologists in terms of intraclass correlation (ICC) (0.94 with 95% CI of (0.93, 0.96)), Kendall's tau (0.83 with 95% CI of (0.79, 0.86)), and the prediction probability (0.93 with 95% CI of (0.91, 0.94)), compared to two other methods (ICC of 0.74 with 95% CI of (0.70, 0.77) and 0.83 with 95% CI of (0.79, 0.86)). Our method improves the accuracy and does not rely on annotations of individual nucleus.

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