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In Journal of pathology informatics ; h5-index 23.0

Background : Recent studies indicate that bladder cancer is among the top 10 most common cancers in the world (Saginala et al. 2022). Bladder cancer frequently reoccurs, and prognostic judgments may vary among clinicians. As a favorable prognosis may help to inform less aggressive treatment plans, classification of histopathology slides is essential for the accurate prognosis and effective treatment of bladder cancer patients. Developing automated and accurate histopathology image analysis methods can help pathologists determine the prognosis of patients with bladder cancer.

Materials and methods : In this study, we introduced Bladder4Net, a deep learning pipeline, to classify whole-slide histopathology images of bladder cancer into two classes: low-risk (combination of PUNLMP and low-grade tumors) and high-risk (combination of high-grade and invasive tumors). This pipeline consists of four convolutional neural network (CNN)-based classifiers to address the difficulties of identifying PUNLMP and invasive classes. We evaluated our pipeline on 182 independent whole-slide images from the New Hampshire Bladder Cancer Study (NHBCS) (Karagas et al., 1998; Sverrisson et al., 2014; Sverrisson et al., 2014) collected from 1994 to 2004 and 378 external digitized slides from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database (

Results : The weighted average F1-score of our approach was 0.91 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.86-0.94) on the NHBCS dataset and 0.99 (95% CI: 0.97-1.00) on the TCGA dataset. Additionally, we computed Kaplan-Meier survival curves for patients who were predicted as high risk versus those predicted as low risk. For the NHBCS test set, patients predicted as high risk had worse overall survival than those predicted as low risk, with a log-rank p-value of 0.004.

Conclusions : If validated through prospective trials, our model could be used in clinical settings to improve patient care.

Barrios Wayner, Abdollahi Behnaz, Goyal Manu, Song Qingyuan, Suriawinata Matthew, Richards Ryland, Ren Bing, Schned Alan, Seigne John, Karagas Margaret, Hassanpour Saeed


Bladder cancer, Computational pathology, Convolutional neural networks