Symmetric Dense Inception Network for Simultaneous Cell Detection and Classification in Multiplex Immunohistochemistry Images
Proceedings of the MICCAI Workshop on Computational Pathology, PMLR 156:246-257, 2021.
Deep-learning based automatic analysis of the multiplex immunohistochemistry (mIHC) enables distinct cell populations to be localized on a large scale, providing insights into disease biology and therapeutic targets. However, standard deep-learning pipelines performed cell detection and classification as two-stage tasks, which is computationally inefficient and faces challenges to incorporate neighbouring tissue context for determining the cell identity. To overcome these limitations and to obtain a more accurate mapping of cell phenotypes, we presented a symmetric dense inception neural network for detecting and classifying cells in mIHC slides simultaneously. The model was applied with a novel stop-gradient strategy and a loss function accounted for class imbalance. When evaluated on an ovarian cancer dataset containing 6 cell types, the model achieved an F1 score of 0.835 in cell detection, and a weighted F1-score of 0.867 in cell classification, which outperformed separate models trained on individual tasks by 1.9% and 3.8% respectively. Taken together, the proposed method boosts the learning efficiency and prediction accuracy of cell detection and classification by simultaneously learning from both tasks.