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In JCO clinical cancer informatics

PURPOSE : There is ongoing clinical need to improve estimates of disease outcome in prostate cancer. Machine learning (ML) approaches to pathologic diagnosis and prognosis are a promising and increasingly used strategy. In this study, we use an ML algorithm for prediction of adverse outcomes at radical prostatectomy (RP) using whole-slide images (WSIs) of prostate biopsies with Grade Group (GG) 2 or 3 disease.

METHODS : We performed a retrospective review of prostate biopsies collected at our institution which had corresponding RP, GG 2 or 3 disease one or more cores, and no biopsies with higher than GG 3 disease. A hematoxylin and eosin-stained core needle biopsy from each site with GG 2 or 3 disease was scanned and used as the sole input for the algorithm. The ML pipeline had three phases: image preprocessing, feature extraction, and adverse outcome prediction. First, patches were extracted from each biopsy scan. Subsequently, the pre-trained Visual Geometry Group-16 convolutional neural network was used for feature extraction. A representative feature vector was then used as input to an Extreme Gradient Boosting classifier for predicting the binary adverse outcome. We subsequently assessed patient clinical risk using CAPRA score for comparison with the ML pipeline results.

RESULTS : The data set included 361 WSIs from 107 patients (56 with adverse pathology at RP). The area under the receiver operating characteristic curves for the ML classification were 0.72 (95% CI, 0.62 to 0.81), 0.65 (95% CI, 0.53 to 0.79) and 0.89 (95% CI, 0.79 to 1.00) for the entire cohort, and GG 2 and GG 3 patients, respectively, similar to the performance of the CAPRA clinical risk assessment.

CONCLUSION : We provide evidence for the potential of ML algorithms to use WSIs of needle core prostate biopsies to estimate clinically relevant prostate cancer outcomes.

Paulson Nathan, Zeevi Tal, Papademetris Maria, Leapman Michael S, Onofrey John A, Sprenkle Preston C, Humphrey Peter A, Staib Lawrence H, Levi Angelique W