Bayesian Landmark-based Shape Analysis of Tumor Pathology Images

11/24/2020 ∙ by Cong Zhang, et al. ∙ 0

Medical imaging is a form of technology that has revolutionized the medical field in the past century. In addition to radiology imaging of tumor tissues, digital pathology imaging, which captures histological details in high spatial resolution, is fast becoming a routine clinical procedure for cancer diagnosis support and treatment planning. Recent developments in deep-learning methods facilitate the segmentation of tumor regions at almost the cellular level from digital pathology images. The traditional shape features that were developed for characterizing tumor boundary roughness in radiology are not applicable. Reliable statistical approaches to modeling tumor shape in pathology images are in urgent need. In this paper, we consider the problem of modeling a tumor boundary with a closed polygonal chain. A Bayesian landmark-based shape analysis (BayesLASA) model is proposed to partition the polygonal chain into mutually exclusive segments to quantify the boundary roughness piecewise. Our fully Bayesian inference framework provides uncertainty estimates of both the number and locations of landmarks. The BayesLASA outperforms a recently developed landmark detection model for planar elastic curves in terms of accuracy and efficiency. We demonstrate how this model-based analysis can lead to sharper inferences than ordinary approaches through a case study on the 246 pathology images from 143 non-small cell lung cancer patients. The case study shows that the heterogeneity of tumor boundary roughness predicts patient prognosis (p-value < 0.001). This statistical methodology not only presents a new model for characterizing a digitized object's shape features by using its landmarks, but also provides a new perspective for understanding the role of tumor surface in cancer progression.

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