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In Frontiers in bioengineering and biotechnology

The classification of colorectal cancer (CRC) lymph node metastasis (LNM) is a vital clinical issue related to recurrence and design of treatment plans. However, it remains unclear which method is effective in automatically classifying CRC LNM. Hence, this study compared the performance of existing classification methods, i.e., machine learning, deep learning, and deep transfer learning, to identify the most effective method. A total of 3,364 samples (1,646 positive and 1,718 negative) from Harbin Medical University Cancer Hospital were collected. All patches were manually segmented by experienced radiologists, and the image size was based on the lesion to be intercepted. Two classes of global features and one class of local features were extracted from the patches. These features were used in eight machine learning algorithms, while the other models used raw data. Experiment results showed that deep transfer learning was the most effective method with an accuracy of 0.7583 and an area under the curve of 0.7941. Furthermore, to improve the interpretability of the results from the deep learning and deep transfer learning models, the classification heat-map features were used, which displayed the region of feature extraction by superposing with raw data. The research findings are expected to promote the use of effective methods in CRC LNM detection and hence facilitate the design of proper treatment plans.

Li Jin, Wang Peng, Zhou Yang, Liang Hong, Luan Kuan


classification, colorectal cancer, deep learning, lymph node, transfer learning