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WeGleNet: A Weakly-Supervised Convolutional Neural Network for the Semantic Segmentation of Gleason Grades in Prostate Histology Images

by   Julio Silva-Rodríguez, et al.
Universitat Politècnica de València

Prostate cancer is one of the main diseases affecting men worldwide. The Gleason scoring system is the primary diagnostic tool for prostate cancer. This is obtained via the visual analysis of cancerous patterns in prostate biopsies performed by expert pathologists, and the aggregation of the main Gleason grades in a combined score. Computer-aided diagnosis systems allow to reduce the workload of pathologists and increase the objectivity. Recently, efforts have been made in the literature to develop algorithms aiming the direct estimation of the global Gleason score at biopsy/core level with global labels. However, these algorithms do not cover the accurate localization of the Gleason patterns into the tissue. In this work, we propose a deep-learning-based system able to detect local cancerous patterns in the prostate tissue using only the global-level Gleason score during training. The methodological core of this work is the proposed weakly-supervised-trained convolutional neural network, WeGleNet, based on a multi-class segmentation layer after the feature extraction module, a global-aggregation, and the slicing of the background class for the model loss estimation during training. We obtained a Cohen's quadratic kappa (k) of 0.67 for the pixel-level prediction of cancerous patterns in the validation cohort. We compared the model performance for semantic segmentation of Gleason grades with supervised state-of-the-art architectures in the test cohort. We obtained a pixel-level k of 0.61 and a macro-averaged f1-score of 0.58, at the same level as fully-supervised methods. Regarding the estimation of the core-level Gleason score, we obtained a k of 0.76 and 0.67 between the model and two different pathologists. WeGleNet is capable of performing the semantic segmentation of Gleason grades similarly to fully-supervised methods without requiring pixel-level annotations.


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