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Deep Residual Learning-Based Classification with Identification of Incorrect Predictions and Quantification of Cellularity and Nuclear Morphological Features

Published by Cancers

2024, 16(13), 2449

Interobserver variations in the pathology of common astrocytic tumors impact diagnosis and subsequent treatment decisions. This study leveraged a residual neural network-50 (ResNet-50) in digital pathological images of diffuse astrocytoma, anaplastic astrocytoma, and glioblastoma to recognize characteristic pathological features and perform classification at the patch and case levels with identification of incorrect predictions. In addition, cellularity and nuclear morphological features, including axis ratio, circularity, entropy, area, irregularity, and perimeter, were quantified via a hybrid task cascade (HTC) framework and compared between different characteristic pathological features with importance weighting. A total of 95 cases, including 15 cases of diffuse astrocytoma, 11 cases of anaplastic astrocytoma, and 69 cases of glioblastoma, were collected in Taiwan Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital from January 2000 to December 2021. The results revealed that an optimized ResNet-50 model could recognize characteristic pathological features at the patch level and assist in diagnosis at the case level with accuracies of 0.916 and 0.846, respectively. Incorrect predictions were mainly due to indistinguishable morphologic overlap between anaplastic astrocytoma and glioblastoma tumor cell area, zones of scant vascular lumen with compact endothelial cells in the glioblastoma microvascular proliferation area mimicking the glioblastoma tumor cell area, and certain regions in diffuse astrocytoma with too low cellularity being misrecognized as the glioblastoma necrosis area. Significant differences were observed in cellularity and each nuclear morphological feature among different characteristic pathological features. Furthermore, using the extreme gradient boosting (XGBoost) algorithm, we found that entropy was the most important feature for classification, followed by cellularity, area, circularity, axis ratio, perimeter, and irregularity. Identifying incorrect predictions provided valuable feedback to machine learning design to further enhance accuracy and reduce errors in classification. Moreover, quantifying cellularity and nuclear morphological features with importance weighting provided the basis for developing an innovative scoring system to achieve objective classification and precision diagnosis among common astrocytic tumors.

Figure 2. The flowchart for applying residual neural network-50 (ResNet-50) to predict characteristic pathological features. Regions of interest (ROIs) were annotated on digital pathological images, and 512 × 512 patches were extracted from ROIs by using a stride of 256. Residual neural network-50 (ResNet-50) was utilized to generate predictions.



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