Novel artificial intelligence system increases the detection of prostate cancer in whole slide images of core needle biopsies

Patricia Raciti, Jillian Sue, Rodrigo Ceballos, Ran Godrich, Jeremy D. Kunz, Supriya Kapur, Victor Reuter, Leo Grady, Christopher Kanan, David S. Klimstra, Thomas J. Fuchs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Prostate cancer (PrCa) is the second most common cancer among men in the United States. The gold standard for detecting PrCa is the examination of prostate needle core biopsies. Diagnosis can be challenging, especially for small, well-differentiated cancers. Recently, machine learning algorithms have been developed for detecting PrCa in whole slide images (WSIs) with high test accuracy. However, the impact of these artificial intelligence systems on pathologic diagnosis is not known. To address this, we investigated how pathologists interact with Paige Prostate Alpha, a state-of-the-art PrCa detection system, in WSIs of prostate needle core biopsies stained with hematoxylin and eosin. Three AP-board certified pathologists assessed 304 anonymized prostate needle core biopsy WSIs in 8 hours. The pathologists classified each WSI as benign or cancerous. After ~4 weeks, pathologists were tasked with re-reviewing each WSI with the aid of Paige Prostate Alpha. For each WSI, Paige Prostate Alpha was used to perform cancer detection and, for WSIs where cancer was detected, the system marked the area where cancer was detected with the highest probability. The original diagnosis for each slide was rendered by genitourinary pathologists and incorporated any ancillary studies requested during the original diagnostic assessment. Against this ground truth, the pathologists and Paige Prostate Alpha were measured. Without Paige Prostate Alpha, pathologists had an average sensitivity of 74% and an average specificity of 97%. With Paige Prostate Alpha, the average sensitivity for pathologists significantly increased to 90% with no statistically significant change in specificity. With Paige Prostate Alpha, pathologists more often correctly classified smaller, lower grade tumors, and spent less time analyzing each WSI. Future studies will investigate if similar benefit is yielded when such a system is used to detect other forms of cancer in a setting that more closely emulates real practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2058-2066
Number of pages9
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


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