Visual Attention Analysis Of Pathologists Examining Whole Slide Images Of Prostate Cancer

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Abstract: We study the attention of pathologists as they examine whole-slide images (WSIs) of prostate cancer tissue using a digital microscope. To the best of our knowledge, our study is the first to report in detail how pathologists navigate WSIs of prostate cancer as they accumulate information for their diagnoses. We collected slide navigation data (i.e., viewport location, magnification level, and time) from 13 pathologists in 2 groups (5 genitourinary (GU) specialists and 8 general pathologists) and generated visual attention heatmaps and scanpaths. Each pathologist examined five WSIs from the TCGA PRAD dataset, which were selected by a GU pathology specialist. We examined and analyzed the distributions of visual attention for each group of pathologists after each WSI was examined. To quantify the relationship between a pathologist’s attention and evidence for cancer in the WSI, we obtained tumor annotations from a genitourinary specialist. We used these annotations to compute the overlap between the distribution of visual attention and annotated tumor region to identify strong correlations. Motivated by this analysis, we trained a deep learning model to predict visual attention on unseen WSIs. We find that the attention heatmaps predicted by our model correlate quite well with the ground truth attention heatmap and tumor annotations on a test set of 17 WSIs by using various spatial and temporal evaluation metrics.
Chakraborty, Souradeep, Ke Ma, Rajarsi Gupta, Beatrice Knudsen, Gregory J. Zelinsky, Joel H. Saltz, and Dimitris Samaras. 2022. “Visual Attention Analysis Of Pathologists Examining Whole Slide Images Of Prostate Cancer.” In 2022 IEEE 19th International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging (ISBI), 1–5.