AI Identifies Previously Unknown Features Linked to Cancer Recurrence

by Colleen Fleiss on  December 20, 2019 at 9:09 AM Cancer News
RSS Email Print This Page Comment bookmark
Font : A-A+

Features in pathology images from human cancer patients, without annotation, that could be understood by human doctors have been identified by artificial intelligence (AI) technology developed by the RIKEN Center for Advanced Intelligence Project (AIP) in Japan.
AI Identifies Previously Unknown Features Linked to Cancer Recurrence
AI Identifies Previously Unknown Features Linked to Cancer Recurrence

Further, the AI identified features relevant to cancer prognosis that were not previously noted by pathologists, leading to a higher accuracy of prostate cancer recurrence compared to pathologist-based diagnosis. Combining the predictions made by the AI with predictions by human pathologists led to an even greater accuracy.

Show Full Article


According to Yoichiro Yamamoto, the first author of the study published in Nature Communications, "This technology could contribute to personalized medicine by making highly accurate prediction of cancer recurrence possible by acquiring new knowledge from images. It could also contribute to understanding how AI can be used safely in medicine by helping to resolve the issue of AI being seen as a 'black box.'"

The research group led by Yamamoto and Go Kimura, in collaboration with a number of university hospitals in Japan, adopted an approach called "unsupervised learning." As long as humans teach the AI, it is not possible to acquire knowledge beyond what is currently known. Rather than being "taught" medical knowledge, the AI was asked to learn using unsupervised deep neural networks, known as autoencoders, without being given any medical knowledge. The researchers developed a method for translating the features found by the AI--only numbers initially--into high-resolution images that can be understood by humans.

To perform this feat the group acquired 13,188 whole-mount pathology slide images of the prostate from Nippon Medical School Hospital (NMSH), The amount of data was enormous, equivalent to approximately 86 billion image patches (sub-images divided for deep neural networks), and the computation was performed on AIP's powerful RAIDEN supercomputer.

The AI learned using pathology images without diagnostic annotation from 11 million image patches. Features found by AI included cancer diagnostic criteria that have been used worldwide, on the Gleason score, but also features involving the stroma--connective tissues supporting an organ--in non-cancer areas that experts were not aware of. In order to evaluate these AI-found features, the research group verified the performance of recurrence prediction using the remaining cases from NMSH (internal validation). The group found that the features discovered by the AI were more accurate (AUC=0.820) than predictions made based on the human-established cancer criteria developed by pathologists, the Gleason score (AUC=0.744).

Furthermore, combining both AI-found features and the human-established criteria predicted the recurrence more accurately than using either method alone (AUC=0.842). The group confirmed the results using another dataset including 2,276 whole-mount pathology images (10 billion image patches) from St. Marianna University Hospital and Aichi Medical University Hospital (external validation).

"I was very happy," says Yamamoto, "to discover that the AI was able to identify cancer on its own from unannotated pathology images. I was extremely surprised to see that AI found features that can be used to predict recurrence that pathologists had not identified."

He continues, "This 'newborn' knowledge could be useful for patients by allowing highly-accurate predictions of cancer recurrence. What is very nice is that we found that combining the AI's predictions with those of a pathologist increased the accuracy even further, showing that AI can be used hand-in-hand with doctors to improve medical care.

In addition, the AI can be used as a tool to discover characteristics of diseases that have not been noted so far, and since it does not require human knowledge, it could be used in other fields outside medicine."

Source: Eurekalert

Post a Comment

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
Notify me when reply is posted
I agree to the terms and conditions

Recommended Reading

Premium Membership Benefits

News A - Z

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

News Search

Medindia Newsletters

Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Stay Connected

  • Available on the Android Market
  • Available on the App Store

News Category

News Archive