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Computing Sciences and Computer Engineering


Breast cancer is associated with the highest morbidity rates for cancer diagnoses in the world and has become a major public health issue. Early diagnosis can increase the chance of successful treatment and survival. However, it is a very challenging and time-consuming task that relies on the experience of pathologists. The automatic diagnosis of breast cancer by analyzing histopathological images plays a significant role for patients and their prognosis. However, traditional feature extraction methods can only extract some low-level features of images, and prior knowledge is necessary to select useful features, which can be greatly affected by humans. Deep learning techniques can extract high-level abstract features from images automatically. Therefore, we introduce it to analyze histopathological images of breast cancer via supervised and unsupervised deep convolutional neural networks. First, we adapted Inception_V3 and Inception_ResNet_V2 architectures to the binary and multi-class issues of breast cancer histopathological image classification by utilizing transfer learning techniques. Then, to overcome the influence from the imbalanced histopathological images in subclasses, we balanced the subclasses with Ductal Carcinoma as the baseline by turning images up and down, right and left, and rotating them counterclockwise by 90 and 180 degrees. Our experimental results of the supervised histopathological image classification of breast cancer and the comparison to the results from other studies demonstrate that Inception_V3 and Inception_ResNet_V2 based histopathological image classification of breast cancer is superior to the existing methods. Furthermore, these findings show that Inception_ResNet_V2 network is the best deep learning architecture so far for diagnosing breast cancers by analyzing histopathological images. Therefore, we used Inception_ResNet_V2 to extract features from breast cancer histopathological images to perform unsupervised analysis of the images. We also constructed a new autoencoder network to transform the features extracted by Inception_ResNet_V2 to a low dimensional space to do clustering analysis of the images. The experimental results demonstrate that using our proposed autoencoder network results in better clustering results than those based on features extracted only by Inception_ResNet_V2 network. All of our experimental results demonstrate that Inception_ResNet_V2 network based deep transfer learning provides a new means of performing analysis of histopathological images of breast cancer.


Published by 'Frontiers in Genetics' at 10.3389/fgene.2019.00080.

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Frontiers in Genetics



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