Automated detection of prostate cancer in digitized whole-slide images of H&E-stained biopsy specimens

G. Litjens, B. Ehteshami Bejnordi, N. Timofeeva, G. Swadi, I. Kovacs, C. A. Hulsbergen-van de Kaa and J. A. W. M. van der Laak

in: Medical Imaging, volume 9420 of SPIE, 2015, pages 94200B



Automated detection of prostate cancer in digitized H and E whole-slide images is an important first step for computer-driven grading. Most automated grading algorithms work on preselected image patches as they are too computationally expensive to calculate on the multi-gigapixel whole-slide images. An automated multi-resolution cancer detection system could reduce the computational workload for subsequent grading and quantification in two ways: by excluding areas of definitely normal tissue within a single specimen or by excluding entire specimens which do not contain any cancer. In this work we present a multi-resolution cancer detection algorithm geared towards the latter. The algorithm methodology is as follows: at a coarse resolution the system uses superpixels, color histograms and local binary patterns in combination with a random forest classifier to assess the likelihood of cancer. The five most suspicious superpixels are identified and at a higher resolution more computationally expensive graph and gland features are added to refine classification for these superpixels. Our methods were evaluated in a data set of 204 digitized whole-slide H and E stained images of MR-guided biopsy specimens from 163 patients. A pathologist exhaustively annotated the specimens for areas containing cancer. The performance of our system was evaluated using ten-fold cross-validation, stratified according to patient. Image-based receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was subsequently performed where a specimen containing cancer was considered positive and specimens without cancer negative. We obtained an area under the ROC curve of 0.96 and a 0.4 specificity at a 1.0 sensitivity.