Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women, being responsible for more than half a million deaths every year. As such, early and accurate diagnosis is of paramount importance. Human expertise is required to diagnose and correctly classify breast cancer and define appropriate therapy, which depends on the evaluation of the expression of different biomarkers such as the transmembrane protein receptor HER2. This evaluation requires several steps, including special techniques such as immunohistochemistry or in situ hybridization to assess HER2 status. With the goal of reducing the number of steps and human bias in diagnosis, the HEROHE Challenge was organized, as a parallel event of the 16th European Congress on Digital Pathology, aiming to automate the assessment of the HER2 status based only on hematoxylin and eosin stained tissue sample of invasive breast cancer. Methods to assess HER2 status were presented by 21 teams worldwide and the results achieved by some of the proposed methods open potential perspectives to advance the state-of-the-art.
Breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer in women, affecting more than 10% of women worldwide. Microscopic analysis of a biopsy remains one of the most important methods to diagnose the type of breast cancer. This requires specialized analysis by pathologists, in a task that i) is highly time- and cost-consuming and ii) often leads to nonconsensual results. The relevance and potential of automatic classification algorithms using hematoxylin-eosin stained histopathological images has already been demonstrated, but the reported results are still sub-optimal for clinical use. With the goal of advancing the state-of-the-art in automatic classification, the Grand Challenge on BreAst Cancer Histology images (BACH) was organized in conjunction with the 15th International Conference on Image Analysis and Recognition (ICIAR 2018). A large annotated dataset, composed of both microscopy and whole-slide images, was specifically compiled and made publicly available for the BACH challenge. Following a positive response from the scientific community, a total of 64 submissions, out of 677 registrations, effectively entered the competition. From the submitted algorithms it was possible to push forward the state-of-the-art in terms of accuracy (87%) in automatic classification of breast cancer with histopathological images. Convolutional neuronal networks were the most successful methodology in the BACH challenge. Detailed analysis of the collective results allowed the identification of remaining challenges in the field and recommendations for future developments. The BACH dataset remains publically available as to promote further improvements to the field of automatic classification in digital pathology.