Deep learning-based transformation of H&E stained tissues into special stains
Pathology is practiced by visual inspection of histochemically stained tissue slides. While the hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) stain is most commonly used, special stains can provide additional contrast to different tissue components. Here, we demonstrate the utility of supervised learning-based computational stain transformation from H&E to special stains (Masson’s Trichrome, periodic acid-Schiff and Jones silver stain) using kidney needle core biopsy tissue sections. Based on the evaluation by three renal pathologists, followed by adjudication by a fourth pathologist, we show that the generation of virtual special stains from existing H&E images improves the diagnosis of several non-neoplastic kidney diseases, sampled from 58 unique subjects (P = 0.0095). A second study found that the quality of the computationally generated special stains was statistically equivalent to those which were histochemically stained. This stain-to-stain transformation framework can improve preliminary diagnoses when additional special stains are needed, also providing significant savings in time and cost.
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