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ArXiv Preprint

We present a system for anomaly detection in histopathological images. In histology, normal samples are usually abundant, whereas anomalous (pathological) cases are scarce or not available. Under such settings, one-class classifiers trained on healthy data can detect out-of-distribution anomalous samples. Such approaches combined with pre-trained Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) representations of images were previously employed for anomaly detection (AD). However, pre-trained off-the-shelf CNN representations may not be sensitive to abnormal conditions in tissues, while natural variations of healthy tissue may result in distant representations. To adapt representations to relevant details in healthy tissue we propose training a CNN on an auxiliary task that discriminates healthy tissue of different species, organs, and staining reagents. Almost no additional labeling workload is required, since healthy samples come automatically with aforementioned labels. During training we enforce compact image representations with a center-loss term, which further improves representations for AD. The proposed system outperforms established AD methods on a published dataset of liver anomalies. Moreover, it provided comparable results to conventional methods specifically tailored for quantification of liver anomalies. We show that our approach can be used for toxicity assessment of candidate drugs at early development stages and thereby may reduce expensive late-stage drug attrition.

Igor Zingman, Birgit Stierstorfer, Charlotte Lempp, Fabian Heinemann