Self-Organizing Maps for Cellular In Silico Staining and Cell Substate Classification. Frontiers in immunology Yuan, E., Matusiak, M., Sirinukunwattana, K., Varma, S., Kidzinski, L., West, R. 2021; 12: 765923


Cellular composition and structural organization of cells in the tissue determine effective antitumor response and can predict patient outcome and therapy response. Here we present Seg-SOM, a method for dimensionality reduction of cell morphology in H&E-stained tissue images. Seg-SOM resolves cellular tissue heterogeneity and reveals complex tissue architecture. We leverage a self-organizing map (SOM) artificial neural network to group cells based on morphological features like shape and size. Seg-SOM allows for cell segmentation, systematic classification, and in silico cell labeling. We apply the Seg-SOM to a dataset of breast cancer progression images and find that clustering of SOM classes reveals groups of cells corresponding to fibroblasts, epithelial cells, and lymphocytes. We show that labeling the Lymphocyte SOM class on the breast tissue images accurately estimates lymphocytic infiltration. We further demonstrate how to use Seq-SOM in combination with non-negative matrix factorization to statistically describe the interaction of cell subtypes and use the interaction information as highly interpretable features for a histological classifier. Our work provides a framework for use of SOM in human pathology to resolve cellular composition of complex human tissues. We provide a python implementation and an easy-to-use docker deployment, enabling researchers to effortlessly featurize digitalized H&E-stained tissue.

View details for DOI 10.3389/fimmu.2021.765923

View details for PubMedID 34777384

View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8588845