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In Scientific reports ; h5-index 158.0

Because histologic types are subjective and difficult to reproduce between pathologists, tissue morphology often takes a back seat to molecular testing for the selection of breast cancer treatments. This work explores whether a deep-learning algorithm can learn objective histologic H&E features that predict the clinical subtypes of breast cancer, as assessed by immunostaining for estrogen, progesterone, and Her2 receptors (ER/PR/Her2). Translating deep learning to this and related problems in histopathology presents a challenge due to the lack of large, well-annotated data sets, which are typically required for the algorithms to learn statistically significant discriminatory patterns. To overcome this limitation, we introduce the concept of "tissue fingerprints," which leverages large, unannotated datasets in a label-free manner to learn H&E features that can distinguish one patient from another. The hypothesis is that training the algorithm to learn the morphological differences between patients will implicitly teach it about the biologic variation between them. Following this training internship, we used the features the network learned, which we call "fingerprints," to predict ER, PR, and Her2 status in two datasets. Despite the discovery dataset being relatively small by the standards of the machine learning community (n = 939), fingerprints enabled the determination of ER, PR, and Her2 status from whole slide H&E images with 0.89 AUC (ER), 0.81 AUC (PR), and 0.79 AUC (Her2) on a large, independent test set (n = 2531). Tissue fingerprints are concise but meaningful histopathologic image representations that capture biological information and may enable machine learning algorithms that go beyond the traditional ER/PR/Her2 clinical groupings by directly predicting theragnosis.

Rawat Rishi R, Ortega Itzel, Roy Preeyam, Sha Fei, Shibata Darryl, Ruderman Daniel, Agus David B