Classification of tumor histopathology via sparse feature learning

Nandita Nayak, Hang Chang, Alexander D Borowsky, Paul Spellman, Bahram Parvin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

36 Scopus citations


Our goal is to decompose whole slide images (WSI) of histology sections into distinct patches (e.g., viable tumor, necrosis) so that statistics of distinct histopathology can be linked with the outcome. Such an analysis requires a large cohort of histology sections that may originate from different laboratories, which may not use the same protocol in sample preparation. We have evaluated a method based on a variation of the restricted Boltzmann machine (RBM) that learns intrinsic features of the image signature in an unsupervised fashion. Computed code, from the learned representation, is then utilized to classify patches from a curated library of images. The system has been evaluated against a dataset of small image blocks of 1k-by-1k that have been extracted from glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and clear cell kidney carcinoma (KIRC) from the cancer genome atlas (TCGA) archive. The learned model is then projected on each whole slide image (e.g., of size 20k-by-20k pixels or larger) for characterizing and visualizing tumor architecture. In the case of GBM, each WSI is decomposed into necrotic, transition into necrosis, and viable. In the case of the KIRC, each WSI is decomposed into tumor types, stroma, normal, and others. Evaluation of 1400 and 2500 samples of GBM and KIRC indicates a performance of 84% and 81%, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2013
Event2013 IEEE 10th International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging: From Nano to Macro, ISBI 2013 - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Apr 7 2013Apr 11 2013


Other2013 IEEE 10th International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging: From Nano to Macro, ISBI 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • feature learning
  • sparse coding
  • Tumor characterization
  • whole slide imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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