The availability of massive amounts of data in histopathological whole-slide images (WSIs) has enabled the application of deep learning models and especially convolutional neural networks (CNNs), which have shown a high potential for improvement in cancer diagnosis. However, storage and transmission of large amounts of data such as gigapixel histopathological WSIs are challenging. Exploiting lossy compression algorithms for medical images is controversial but, as long as the clinical diagnosis is not affected, is acceptable. We study the impact of JPEG 2000 compression on our proposed CNN-based algorithm, which has produced performance comparable to that of pathologists and which was ranked second place in the CAMELYON17 challenge. Detecting tumor metastases in hematoxylin and eosin-stained tissue sections of breast lymph nodes is evaluated and compared with the pathologists’ diagnoses in three different experimental setups. Our experiments show that the CNN model is robust against compression ratios up to 24:1 when it is trained on uncompressed high-quality images. We demonstrate that a model trained on lower quality images—i.e., lossy compressed images—depicts a classification performance that is significantly improved for the corresponding compression ratio. Moreover, it is also observed that the model performs equally well on all higher-quality images. These properties will help to design cloud-based computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) systems, e.g., telemedicine that employ deep CNN models that are more robust to image quality variations due to compression required to address data storage and transmission constraints. However, the results presented are specific to the CAD system and application described, and further work is needed to examine whether they generalize to other systems and applications.
- convolutional neural networks
- digital pathology
- image quality
- JPEG 2000 compression
- tumor detection