AI tool to classify brain tumours

Monday, 20 May, 2024

AI tool to classify brain tumours

A new AI tool, developed by researchers at The Australian National University (ANU), could help to quickly and accurately classify brain tumours.

Precision in diagnosing and categorising tumours is crucial for effective patient treatment, according to ANU’s Dr Danh-Tai Hoang. He explained that DNA methylation-based profiling is the current gold standard for identifying different kinds of brain tumours, noting that it acts like a switch to control gene activity.

“But the time it takes to do this kind of testing can be a major drawback, often requiring several weeks or more when patients might be relying on quick decisions on therapies,” he said.

“There’s also a lack of availability of these tests in nearly all hospitals worldwide.”

To address these challenges, the ANU researchers, in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute in the United States, developed DEPLOY — a way to predict DNA methylation and subsequently classify brain tumours into 10 major subtypes.

DEPLOY draws on microscopic pictures of a patient’s tissue, called histopathology images. The model was trained and validated on large datasets of approximately 4000 patients from across the US and Europe.

“Remarkably, DEPLOY achieved an unprecedented accuracy of 95%,” Hoang said.

“Furthermore, when given a subset of 309 particularly difficult to classify samples, DEPLOY was able to provide a diagnosis that was more clinically relevant than what was initially provided by pathologists.

“This shows the potential future role of DEPLOY as a complementary tool, adding to a pathologist’s initial diagnosis or even prompting re-evaluation in the case of disparities.”

The researchers believe DEPLOY could eventually be used to help classify other types of cancer as well. Their work has been published in Nature Medicine.

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