Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. In coping with it, histopathology image analysis (HIA) provides key information for clinical diagnosis of CRC. Nowadays, the deep learning methods are widely used in improving cancer classification and localization of tumor-regions in HIA. However, these efforts are both time-consuming and labor-intensive due to the manual annotation of tumor-regions in the whole slide images (WSIs). Furthermore, classical deep learning methods to analyze thousands of patches extracted from WSIs may cause loss of integrated information of image. Herein, a novel method was developed, which used only global labels to achieve WSI classification and localization of carcinoma by combining features from different magnifications of WSIs. The model was trained and tested using 1346 colorectal cancer WSIs from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Our method classified colorectal cancer with an accuracy of 94.6 %, which slightly outperforms most of the existing methods. Its cancerous-location probability maps were in good agreement with annotations from three individual expert pathologists. Independent tests on 50 newly-collected colorectal cancer WSIs from hospitals produced 92.0 % accuracy and cancerous-location probability maps were in good agreement with the three pathologists. The results thereby demonstrated that the method sufficiently achieved WSI classification and localization utilizing only global labels. This weakly supervised deep learning method is effective in time and cost, as it delivered a better performance in comparison with the state-of-the-art methods.
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