Agreement of two pre-trained deep-learning neural networks built with transfer learning with six pathologists on 6000 patches of prostate cancer from Gleason2019 Challenge

Vol. 61 No. 2, 2020


Mircea-Sebastian Serbanescu, Carmen-Nicoleta Oancea, Costin Teodor Streba, Iancu Emil Plesea, Daniel Pirici, Liliana Streba, Razvan Mihail Plesea

Introduction: While the visual inspection of histopathology images by expert pathologists remains the golden standard method for grading of prostate cancer the quest for developing automated algorithms for the job is set and deep-learning techniques have emerged on top of other approaches. Methods: Two pre-trained deep-learning networks, obtained with transfer learning from two general purpose classification networks - AlexNet and GoogleNet, originally trained on a proprietary dataset of prostate cancer were used to classify 6000 cropped images from Gleason2019 Challenge. Results: The average agreement between the two networks and the six pathologists was found to be substantial for AlexNet and moderate for GoogleNet. When tested against the majority vote of the six pathologists the agreement was perfect and moderate for AlexNet, and GoogleNet, respectively. Despite our expectations, the average inter-pathologist agreement was moderate, while between the two networks it was substantial. Resulted accuracy for AlexNet and GoogleNet when tested against the majority vote as ground truth was of 85.51% and 74.75%, respectively. This result was higher than the score obtained on the dataset that they were trained on, showing their generalization capabilities. Conclusions: Both the agreement and the accuracy indicate a better performance of AlexNet over GoogleNet, making it suitable for clinical deployment thus could potentially contribute to faster, more accurate and with higher reproducibility prostate cancer diagnosis.

Corresponding author: Costin Teodor Streba, Associate Professor, MD, PhD; e-mail:

DOI: 10.47162/RJME.61.2.21 Download PDF
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