Nuclei Grading of Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma in Histopathological Image by Composite High-Resolution Network

20 Jun 2021  ·  Zeyu Gao, Jiangbo Shi, Xianli Zhang, Yang Li, Haichuan Zhang, Jialun Wu, Chunbao Wang, Deyu Meng, Chen Li ·

The grade of clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) is a critical prognostic factor, making ccRCC nuclei grading a crucial task in RCC pathology analysis. Computer-aided nuclei grading aims to improve pathologists' work efficiency while reducing their misdiagnosis rate by automatically identifying the grades of tumor nuclei within histopathological images. Such a task requires precisely segment and accurately classify the nuclei. However, most of the existing nuclei segmentation and classification methods can not handle the inter-class similarity property of nuclei grading, thus can not be directly applied to the ccRCC grading task. In this paper, we propose a Composite High-Resolution Network for ccRCC nuclei grading. Specifically, we propose a segmentation network called W-Net that can separate the clustered nuclei. Then, we recast the fine-grained classification of nuclei to two cross-category classification tasks, based on two high-resolution feature extractors (HRFEs) which are proposed for learning these two tasks. The two HRFEs share the same backbone encoder with W-Net by a composite connection so that meaningful features for the segmentation task can be inherited for the classification task. Last, a head-fusion block is applied to generate the predicted label of each nucleus. Furthermore, we introduce a dataset for ccRCC nuclei grading, containing 1000 image patches with 70945 annotated nuclei. We demonstrate that our proposed method achieves state-of-the-art performance compared to existing methods on this large ccRCC grading dataset.

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