Semantic knowledge for histopathological image analysis: From ontologies to processing portals and deep learning

Yannick L. Kergosien, Daniel Racoceanu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This article presents our vision about the next generation of challenges in computational/digital pathology. The key role of the domain ontology, developed in a sustainable manner (i.e. using reference checklists and protocols, as the living semantic repositories), opens the way to effective/sustainable traceability and relevance feedback concerning the use of existing machine learning algorithms, proven to be very performant in the latest digital pathology challenges (i.e. convolutional neural networks). Being able to work in an accessible web-service environment, with strictly controlled issues regarding intellectual property (image and data processing/analysis algorithms) and medical data/image confidentiality is essential for the future. Among the web-services involved in the proposed approach, the living yellow pages in the area of computational pathology seems to be very important in order to reach an operational awareness, validation, and feasibility. This represents a very promising way to go to the next generation of tools, able to bring more guidance to the computer scientists and confidence to the pathologists, towards an effective/efficient daily use. Besides, a consistent feedback and insights will be more likely to emerge in the near future - from these sophisticated machine learning tools - back to the pathologists - , strengthening, therefore, the interaction between the different actors of a sustainable biomedical ecosystem (patients, clinicians, biologists, engineers, scientists etc.). Beside going digital/computational - with virtual slide technology demanding new workflows - , Pathology must prepare for another coming revolution: semantic web technologies now enable the knowledge of experts to be stored in databases, shared through the Internet, and accessible by machines. Traceability, disambiguation of reports, quality monitoring, interoperability between health centers are some of the associated benefits that pathologists were seeking. However, major changes are also to be expected for the relation of human diagnosis to machine based procedures. Improving on a former imaging platform which used a local knowledge base and a reasoning engine to combine image processing modules into higher level tasks, we propose a framework where different actors of the histopathology imaging world can cooperate using web services - exchanging knowledge as well as imaging services - and where the results of such collaborations on diagnostic related tasks can be evaluated in international challenges such as those recently organized for mitosis detection, nuclear atypia, or tissue architecture in the context of cancer grading. This framework is likely to offer an effective context-guidance and traceability to Deep Learning approaches, with an interesting promising perspective given by the multi-task learning (MTL) paradigm, distinguished by its applicability to several different learning algorithms, its non- reliance on specialized architectures and the promising results demonstrated, in particular towards the problem of weak supervision - , an issue found when direct links from pathology terms in reports to corresponding regions within images are missing.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication13th International Conference on Medical Information Processing and Analysis
EditorsNatasha Lepore, Jorge Brieva, Juan David Garcia, Eduardo Romero
ISBN (Electronic)9781510616332
StatePublished - 2017
Event13th International Conference on Medical Information Processing and Analysis, SIPAIM 2017 - San Andres Island, Colombia
Duration: 5 Oct 20177 Oct 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


Conference13th International Conference on Medical Information Processing and Analysis, SIPAIM 2017
CitySan Andres Island


  • Challenges
  • Computational/Digital Pathology
  • Deep Learning
  • Multitask learning
  • Semantics/Ontology
  • Web-Services


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