Keeping Pathologists in the Loop and an Adaptive F1-Score Threshold Method for Mitosis Detection in Canine Perivascular Wall Tumours

Cancers (Basel). 2024 Feb 2;16(3):644. doi: 10.3390/cancers16030644.


Performing a mitosis count (MC) is the diagnostic task of histologically grading canine Soft Tissue Sarcoma (cSTS). However, mitosis count is subject to inter- and intra-observer variability. Deep learning models can offer a standardisation in the process of MC used to histologically grade canine Soft Tissue Sarcomas. Subsequently, the focus of this study was mitosis detection in canine Perivascular Wall Tumours (cPWTs). Generating mitosis annotations is a long and arduous process open to inter-observer variability. Therefore, by keeping pathologists in the loop, a two-step annotation process was performed where a pre-trained Faster R-CNN model was trained on initial annotations provided by veterinary pathologists. The pathologists reviewed the output false positive mitosis candidates and determined whether these were overlooked candidates, thus updating the dataset. Faster R-CNN was then trained on this updated dataset. An optimal decision threshold was applied to maximise the F1-score predetermined using the validation set and produced our best F1-score of 0.75, which is competitive with the state of the art in the canine mitosis domain.

Keywords: artificial intelligence; canine Perivascular Wall Tumour; canine Soft Tissue Sarcoma; deep learning; digital pathology; faster R-CNN; humans in the loop; mitosis; mitosis detection; object detection; pathologists in the loop.

Grants and funding

This research was funded by the Doctoral College, University of Surrey (UK), National Physical Laboratory (UK) and Zoetis.