XFibrosis: Explicit Vessel-Fiber Modeling for Fibrosis Staging from Liver Pathology Images

The increasing prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has caused public concern in recent years. The high prevalence and risk of severe complications make monitoring NAFLD progression a public health priority. Fibrosis staging from liver biopsy images plays a key role in demonstrating the histological progression of NAFLD. Fibrosis mainly involves the deposition of fibers around vessels. Current deep learning-based fibrosis staging methods learn spatial relationships between tissue patches but do not explicitly consider the relationships between vessels and fibers leading to limited performance and poor interpretability. In this paper we propose an eXplicit vessel-fiber modeling method for Fibrosis staging from liver biopsy images namely XFibrosis. Specifically we transform vessels and fibers into graph-structured representations where their micro-structures are depicted by vessel-induced primal graphs and fiber-induced dual graphs respectively. Moreover the fiber-induced dual graphs also represent the connectivity information between vessels caused by fiber deposition. A primal-dual graph convolution module is designed to facilitate the learning of spatial relationships between vessels and fibers allowing for the joint exploration and interaction of their micro-structures. Experiments conducted on two datasets have shown that explicitly modeling the relationship between vessels and fibers leads to improved fibrosis staging and enhanced interpretability.

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