Scientific Reports

Aggregation of Cohorts for Histopathological Diagnosis with Deep Morphological Analysis

  • Feb. 2021
  • by Jeonghyuk Park et. al.

There have been substantial efforts in using deep learning (DL) to diagnose cancer from digital images of pathology slides. Existing algorithms typically operate by training deep neural networks either specialized in specific cohorts or an aggregate of all cohorts when there are only a few images available for the target cohort. A trade-off between decreasing the number of models and their cancer detection performance was evident in our experiments with The Cancer Genomic Atlas dataset, with the former approach achieving higher performance at the cost of having to acquire large datasets from the cohort of interest. Constructing annotated datasets for individual cohorts is extremely time-consuming, with the acquisition cost of such datasets growing linearly with the number of cohorts. Another issue associated with developing cohort-specific models is the difficulty of maintenance: all cohort-specific models may need to be adjusted when a new DL algorithm is to be used, where training even a single model may require a non-negligible amount of computation, or when more data is added to some cohorts. In resolving the sub-optimal behavior of a universal cancer detection model trained on an aggregate of cohorts, we investigated how cohorts can be grouped to augment a dataset without increasing the number of models linearly with the number of cohorts. This study introduces several metrics which measure the morphological similarities between cohort pairs and demonstrates how the metrics can be used to control the trade-off between performance and the number of models.


Jeonghyuk Park, Yul Ri Chung, Seo Taek Kong, Yeong Won Kim, Hyunho Park, Kyungdoc Kim, Dong-Il Kim and Kyu-Hwan Jung

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