Novel rapid intraoperative qualitative tumor detection by a residual convolutional neural network using label-free stimulated Raman scattering microscopy

Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2022 Aug 6;10(1):109. doi: 10.1186/s40478-022-01411-x.


Determining the presence of tumor in biopsies and the decision-making during resections is often dependent on intraoperative rapid frozen-section histopathology. Recently, stimulated Raman scattering microscopy has been introduced to rapidly generate digital hematoxylin-and-eosin-stained-like images (stimulated Raman histology) for intraoperative analysis. To enable intraoperative prediction of tumor presence, we aimed to develop a new deep residual convolutional neural network in an automated pipeline and tested its validity. In a monocentric prospective clinical study with 94 patients undergoing biopsy, brain or spinal tumor resection, Stimulated Raman histology images of intraoperative tissue samples were obtained using a fiber-laser-based stimulated Raman scattering microscope. A residual network was established and trained in ResNetV50 to predict three classes for each image: (1) tumor, (2) non-tumor, and (3) low-quality. The residual network was validated on images obtained in three small random areas within the tissue samples and were blindly independently reviewed by a neuropathologist as ground truth. 402 images derived from 132 tissue samples were analyzed representing the entire spectrum of neurooncological surgery. The automated workflow took in a mean of 240 s per case, and the residual network correctly classified tumor (305/326), non-tumorous tissue (49/67), and low-quality (6/9) images with an inter-rater agreement of 89.6% (κ = 0.671). An excellent internal consistency was found among the random areas with 90.2% (Cα = 0.942) accuracy. In conclusion, the novel stimulated Raman histology-based residual network can reliably detect the microscopic presence of tumor and differentiate from non-tumorous brain tissue in resection and biopsy samples within 4 min and may pave a promising way for an alternative rapid intraoperative histopathological decision-making tool.

Keywords: Artificial intelligence; Brain tumor; Deep learning; Neurosurgery; Stimulated Raman histology; Tissue detection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Neurosurgical Procedures
  • Nonlinear Optical Microscopy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiopharmaceuticals


  • Radiopharmaceuticals