Collagen prediction and virtual saffron staining from HE

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Collagen prediction and virtual saffron staining from HE

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[NOVEMBER 18TH, 2022]

Authors: 1. Guillaume Balezo, 2. Christof A. Bertram, 3. Cyprien Tilmant, 4. Stéphanie Petit, 1. Saima Ben Hadj, 1. Rutger H.J. Fick

1. Tribun Health, 2 Rue du Capitaine Scott, 75015 Paris, France,
2. University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Austria,
3. GHICL, Lille, France,
4. Xpath Nord, Leulinghem, France.

Abstract. In histology, the presence of collagen in the extra-cellular matrix has both diagnostic and prognostic value for cancer malignancy, and can be highlighted by adding Saffron (S) to a routine Hematoxylin and Eosin (HE) staining. However, Saffron is not usually added because of the additional cost and because pathologists are accustomed to HE, with the exception of France-based laboratories. In this paper, we show that it is possible to quantify the collagen content from the HE image alone and to digitally create an HES image. To do so, we trained a UNet to predict the Saffron densities from HE images. We created a dataset of registered, restained HE-HES slides and we extracted the Saffron concentrations as ground truth using stain deconvolution on the HES images. Our model reached a Mean Absolute Error of 0.0668 ± 0.0002 (Saffron values between 0 and 1) on a 3-fold testing set. We hope our approach can aid in improving the clinical workflow while reducing reagent costs for laboratories.

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