Convolutional Neural Networks for Lymphocyte detection in Immunohistochemically Stained Whole-Slide Images

Z. Swiderska-Chadaj, H. Pinckaers, M. van Rijthoven, M. Balkenhol, M. Melnikova, O. Geessink, Q. Manson, G. Litjens, J. van der Laak and F. Ciompi

Medical Imaging with Deep Learning 2018.

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Recent advances in cancer immunotherapy have boosted the interest in the role played by the immune system in cancer treatment. In particular, the presence of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) have become a central research topic in oncology and pathology. Consequently, a method to automatically detect and quantify immune cells is of great interest. In this paper, we present a comparison of different deep learning (DL) techniques for the detection of lymphocytes in immunohistochemically stained (CD3 and CD8) slides of breast, prostate and colon cancer. The compared methods cover the state-of-the-art in object localization, classification and segmentation: Locality Sensitive Method (LSM), U-net, You Only Look Once (YOLO) and fully-convolutional networks (FCNN). A dataset with 109,841 annotated cells from 58 whole-slide images was used for this study. Overall, U-net and YOLO achieved the highest results, with an F1-score of 0.78 in regular tissue areas. U-net approach was more robust to biological and staining variability and could also handle staining and tissue artifacts.