A Preliminary Investigation into Search and Matching for Tumour Discrimination in WHO Breast Taxonomy Using Deep Networks

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting women worldwide. They include a group of malignant neoplasms with a variety of biological, clinical, and histopathological characteristics. There are more than 35 different histological forms of breast lesions that can be classified and diagnosed histologically according to cell morphology, growth, and architecture patterns. Recently, deep learning, in the field of artificial intelligence, has drawn a lot of attention for the computerized representation of medical images. Searchable digital atlases can provide pathologists with patch matching tools allowing them to search among evidently diagnosed and treated archival cases, a technology that may be regarded as computational second opinion. In this study, we indexed and analyzed the WHO breast taxonomy (Classification of Tumours 5th Ed.) spanning 35 tumour types. We visualized all tumour types using deep features extracted from a state-of-the-art deep learning model, pre-trained on millions of diagnostic histopathology images from the TCGA repository. Furthermore, we test the concept of a digital "atlas" as a reference for search and matching with rare test cases. The patch similarity search within the WHO breast taxonomy data reached over 88% accuracy when validating through "majority vote" and more than 91% accuracy when validating using top-n tumour types. These results show for the first time that complex relationships among common and rare breast lesions can be investigated using an indexed digital archive.

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