Since 1928, the way breast cancer characteristics are evaluated and categorized has remained largely unchanged. It is done by hand, under a microscope. Pathologists examine the tumors visually and score them according to a scale first developed eight decades ago. These scores help doctors assess the type and severity of the cancer and, accordingly, to calculate the patient’s prognosis and course of treatment.
In a paper published Nov. 9 in Science Translational Medicine, computer scientists at the Stanford School of Engineering and pathologists at the Stanford School of Medicine report their collaboration to train computers to analyze breast cancer microscopic images. The computer analyses were more accurate than those conducted by humans.