From Detection of Individual Metastases to Classification of Lymph Node Status at the Patient Level: The CAMELYON17 Challenge

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Bandi P., Geessink O., Manson Q., van Dijk M., Balkenhol M., Hermsen M., ...More

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON MEDICAL IMAGING, vol.38, no.2, pp.550-560, 2019 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 38 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1109/tmi.2018.2867350
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.550-560
  • Keywords: Breast cancer, sentinel lymph node, lymph node metastases, whole-slide images, grand challenge, CANCER


Automated detection of cancer metastases in lymph nodes has the potential to improve the assessment of prognosis for patients. To enable fair comparison between the algorithms for this purpose, we set up the CAMELYON17 challenge in conjunction with the IEEE International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging 2017 Conference in Melbourne. Over 300 participants registered on the challenge website, of which 23 teams submitted a total of 37 algorithms before the initial deadline. Participants were provided with 899 whole-slide images (WSIs) for developing their algorithms. The developed algorithms were evaluated based on the test set encompassing 100 patients and 500 WSIs. The evaluation metric used was a quadratic weighted Cohen's kappa. We discuss the algorithmic details of the 10 best pre-conference and two post-conference submissions. All these participants used convolutional neural networks in combination with pre- and postprocessing steps. Algorithms differed mostly in neural network architecture, training strategy, and pre- and postprocessing methodology. Overall, the kappa metric ranged from 0.89 to -0.13 across all submissions. The best results were obtained with pre-trained architectures such as ResNet. Confusion matrix analysis revealed that all participants struggled with reliably identifying isolated tumor cells, the smallest type of metastasis, with detection rates below 40%. Qualitative inspection of the results of the top participants showed categories of false positives, such as nerves or contamination, which could be targeted for further optimization. Last, we show that simple combinations of the top algorithms result in higher kappa metric values than any algorithm individually, with 0.93 for the best combination.