Deep learning-based phenotyping reclassifies combined hepatocellular-cholangiocarcinoma

Nat Commun. 2023 Dec 14;14(1):8290. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-43749-3.


Primary liver cancer arises either from hepatocytic or biliary lineage cells, giving rise to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) or intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICCA). Combined hepatocellular- cholangiocarcinomas (cHCC-CCA) exhibit equivocal or mixed features of both, causing diagnostic uncertainty and difficulty in determining proper management. Here, we perform a comprehensive deep learning-based phenotyping of multiple cohorts of patients. We show that deep learning can reproduce the diagnosis of HCC vs. CCA with a high performance. We analyze a series of 405 cHCC-CCA patients and demonstrate that the model can reclassify the tumors as HCC or ICCA, and that the predictions are consistent with clinical outcomes, genetic alterations and in situ spatial gene expression profiling. This type of approach could improve treatment decisions and ultimately clinical outcome for patients with rare and biphenotypic cancers such as cHCC-CCA.

MeSH terms

  • Bile Duct Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Bile Ducts, Intrahepatic
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / pathology
  • Cholangiocarcinoma* / genetics
  • Cholangiocarcinoma* / pathology
  • Deep Learning*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Liver Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Liver Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies