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Knowledge-Based Representation Learning for Nucleus Instance Classification From Histopathological Images

journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-14, 04:35 authored by W Zhang, Jun ZhangJun Zhang, S Yang, X Wang, W Yang, J Huang, W Wang, X Han
The classification of nuclei in H&E-stained histopathological images is a fundamental step in the quantitative analysis of digital pathology. Most existing methods employ multi-class classification on the detected nucleus instances, while the annotation scale greatly limits their performance. Moreover, they often downplay the contextual information surrounding nucleus instances that is critical for classification. To explicitly provide contextual information to the classification model, we design a new structured input consisting of a content-rich image patch and a target instance mask. The image patch provides rich contextual information, while the target instance mask indicates the location of the instance to be classified and emphasizes its shape. Benefiting from our structured input format, we propose Structured Triplet for representation learning, a triplet learning framework on unlabelled nucleus instances with customized positive and negative sampling strategies. We pre-train a feature extraction model based on this framework with a large-scale unlabeled dataset, making it possible to train an effective classification model with limited annotated data. We also add two auxiliary branches, namely the attribute learning branch and the conventional self-supervised learning branch, to further improve its performance. As part of this work, we will release a new dataset of H&E-stained pathology images with nucleus instance masks, containing 20,187 patches of size 1024 × 1024, where each patch comes from a different whole-slide image. The model pre-trained on this dataset with our framework significantly reduces the burden of extensive labeling. We show a substantial improvement in nucleus classification accuracy compared with the state-of-the-art methods.



IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging






United States







Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal




Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)