A large body of previous machine learning methods for ultrasound-based prostate cancer detection classify small regions of interest (ROIs) of ultrasound signals that lie within a larger needle trace corresponding to a prostate tissue biopsy (called biopsy core). These ROI-scale models suffer from weak labeling as histopathology results available for biopsy cores only approximate the distribution of cancer in the ROIs. ROI-scale models do not take advantage of contextual information that are normally considered by pathologists, i.e. they do not consider information about surrounding tissue and larger-scale trends when identifying cancer. We aim to improve cancer detection by taking a multi-scale, i.e. ROI-scale and biopsy core-scale, approach. Methods: Our multi-scale approach combines (i) an "ROI-scale" model trained using self-supervised learning to extract features from small ROIs and (ii) a "core-scale" transformer model that processes a collection of extracted features from multiple ROIs in the needle trace region to predict the tissue type of the corresponding core. Attention maps, as a byproduct, allow us to localize cancer at the ROI scale. We analyze this method using a dataset of micro-ultrasound acquired from 578 patients who underwent prostate biopsy, and compare our model to baseline models and other large-scale studies in the literature. Results and Conclusions: Our model shows consistent and substantial performance improvements compared to ROI-scale-only models. It achieves 80.3% AUROC, a statistically significant improvement over ROI-scale classification. We also compare our method to large studies on prostate cancer detection, using other imaging modalities. Our code is publicly available at www.github.com/med-i-lab/TRUSFormer
Deep learning-based analysis of high-frequency, high-resolution micro-ultrasound data shows great promise for prostate cancer detection. Previous approaches to analysis of ultrasound data largely follow a supervised learning paradigm. Ground truth labels for ultrasound images used for training deep networks often include coarse annotations generated from the histopathological analysis of tissue samples obtained via biopsy. This creates inherent limitations on the availability and quality of labeled data, posing major challenges to the success of supervised learning methods. On the other hand, unlabeled prostate ultrasound data are more abundant. In this work, we successfully apply self-supervised representation learning to micro-ultrasound data. Using ultrasound data from 1028 biopsy cores of 391 subjects obtained in two clinical centres, we demonstrate that feature representations learnt with this method can be used to classify cancer from non-cancer tissue, obtaining an AUROC score of 91% on an independent test set. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first successful end-to-end self-supervised learning approach for prostate cancer detection using ultrasound data. Our method outperforms baseline supervised learning approaches, generalizes well between different data centers, and scale well in performance as more unlabeled data are added, making it a promising approach for future research using large volumes of unlabeled data.
MOTIVATION: Detection of prostate cancer during transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsy is challenging. The highly heterogeneous appearance of cancer, presence of ultrasound artefacts, and noise all contribute to these difficulties. Recent advancements in high-frequency ultrasound imaging - micro-ultrasound - have drastically increased the capability of tissue imaging at high resolution. Our aim is to investigate the development of a robust deep learning model specifically for micro-ultrasound-guided prostate cancer biopsy. For the model to be clinically adopted, a key challenge is to design a solution that can confidently identify the cancer, while learning from coarse histopathology measurements of biopsy samples that introduce weak labels. METHODS: We use a dataset of micro-ultrasound images acquired from 194 patients, who underwent prostate biopsy. We train a deep model using a co-teaching paradigm to handle noise in labels, together with an evidential deep learning method for uncertainty estimation. We evaluate the performance of our model using the clinically relevant metric of accuracy vs. confidence. RESULTS: Our model achieves a well-calibrated estimation of predictive uncertainty with area under the curve of 88$\%$. The use of co-teaching and evidential deep learning in combination yields significantly better uncertainty estimation than either alone. We also provide a detailed comparison against state-of-the-art in uncertainty estimation.