All publication, open-access datasets and AI algorithms developed during the project can be found on our Zenodo community.Link
Early detection improves prognosis in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), but is challenging as lesions are often small and poorly defined on contrast-enhanced computed tomography scans (CE-CT). Deep learning can facilitate PDAC diagnosis; however, current models still fail to identify small (<2 cm) lesions. In this study, state-of-the-art deep learning models were used to develop an automatic framework for PDAC detection, focusing on small lesions. Additionally, the impact of integrating the surrounding anatomy was investigated. CE-CT scans from a cohort of 119 pathology-proven PDAC patients and a cohort of 123 patients without PDAC were used to train a nnUnet for automatic lesion detection and segmentation (nnUnet_T). Two additional nnUnets were trained to investigate the impact of anatomy integration: (1) segmenting the pancreas and tumor (nnUnet_TP), and (2) segmenting the pancreas, tumor, and multiple surrounding anatomical structures (nnUnet_MS). An external, publicly available test set was used to compare the performance of the three networks. The nnUnet_MS achieved the best performance, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.91 for the whole test set and 0.88 for tumors <2 cm, showing that state-of-the-art deep learning can detect small PDAC and benefits from anatomy information.
Citation: Alves, N.; Schuurmans, M.; Litjens, G.; Bosma, J.S.; Hermans, J.; Huisman, H. Fully Automatic Deep Learning Framework for Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Detection on Computed Tomography. Cancers 2022, 14, 376.Download Link
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), estimated to become the second leading cause of cancer deaths in western societies by 2030, was flagged as a neglected cancer by the European Commission and the United States Congress. Due to lack of investment in research and development, combined with a complex and aggressive tumour biology, PDAC overall survival has not significantly improved the past decades. Cross-sectional imaging and histopathology play a crucial role throughout the patient pathway. However, current clinical guidelines for diagnostic workup, patient stratification, treatment response assessment, and follow-up are non-uniform and lack evidence-based consensus. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can leverage multimodal data to improve patient outcomes, but PDAC AI research is too scattered and lacking in quality to be incorporated into clinical workflows. This review describes the patient pathway and derives touchpoints for image-based AI research in collaboration with a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional expert panel. The literature exploring AI to address these touchpoints is thoroughly retrieved and analysed to identify the existing trends and knowledge gaps. The results show absence of multi-institutional, well-curated datasets, an essential building block for robust AI applications. Furthermore, most research is unimodal, does not use state-of-the-art AI techniques, and lacks reliable ground truth. Based on this, the future research agenda for clinically relevant, image-driven AI in PDAC is proposed. Schuurmans, M.; Alves, N.; Vendittelli, P.; Huisman, H.; Hermans, J. Setting the Research Agenda for Clinical Artificial Intelligence in Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Imaging. Cancers 2022, 14, 3498. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14143498Download Link
Pancreatic cancer will soon be the second leading cause of cancer-related death in Western society. Imaging techniques such as CT, MRI and ultrasound typically help providing the initial diagnosis, but histopathological assessment is still the gold standard for final confirmation of disease presence and prognosis. In recent years machine learning approaches and pathomics pipelines have shown potential in improving diagnostics and prognostics in other cancerous entities, such as breast and prostate cancer. A crucial first step in these pipelines is typically identification and segmentation of the tumour area. Ideally this step is done automatically to prevent time consuming manual annotation. We propose a multi-task convolutional neural network to balance disease detection and segmentation accuracy. We validated our approach on a dataset of 29 patients (for a total of 58 slides) at different resolutions. The best single task segmentation network achieved a median Dice of 0.885 (0.122) IQR at a resolution of 15.56 μm. Our multi-task network improved on that with a median Dice score of 0.934 (0.077) IQR.
Citation: Vendittelli, Pierpaolo, Esther MM Smeets, and G. J. S. Litjens. "Automatic tumour segmentation in H&E-stained whole-slide images of the pancreas." Medical Imaging 2022: Digital and Computational Pathology. Vol. 12039. SPIE, 2022.Download Link
Cross-sectional imaging such as computed tomography (CT) plays a crucial role in PDAC (pancreatic cancer) management. In the last years, Artificial intelligence (AI) has gained considerable interest in oncology, as it has the potential to support clinicians and ultimately guide decision making at each step of the patient pathway by focusing on well-validated applications at meaningful clinical touchpoints. AI applications can leverage high amounts of data to produce individualized recommendations based on each patient’s clinical picture. But while the number of publications on AI for clinical decision-making in oncology has increased exponentially in the past few years, AI research in PDAC is still at a preliminary stage compared to other cancer diseases, with limited private and public datasets and a lack of independent, external model validation. As a result, no AI applications have been implemented in clinical practice for PDAC. The article identifies the definition of the research questions to be addressed by AI algorithms as a first step towards developing clinically-relevant AI and suggests to do so based on five steps in the patient pathway: Detection, Diagnosis, Staging, Treatment, Treatment monitoring. In each step along the patient pathway, the articles identifies the critical touchpoints that are lacking in clinical practice, where image-based AI could have the greatest impact for patients and clinicians. In general, the authors find that AI holds the potential to bring transformative changes into healthcare, and PDAC is particularly suited to benefit from AI research and the development of commercial applications since current clinical practices still lead to poor patient outcomes.
Citation: Schuurmans, Megan, et al. "Artificial Intelligence in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Imaging: A Commentary on Potential Future Applications." Gastroenterology (2023).Download Link