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DAS-MIL: Distilling Across Scales for MILClassification of Histological WSIs

Abstract: The adoption of Multi-Instance Learning (MIL) for classifying Whole-Slide Images (WSIs) has increased in recent years. Indeed, pixel-level annotation of gigapixel WSI is mostly unfeasible and time-consuming in practice. For this reason, MIL approaches have been profitably integrated with the most recent deep-learning solutions for WSI classification to support clinical practice and diagnosis. Nevertheless, the majority of such approaches overlook the multi-scale nature of the WSIs; the few existing hierarchical MIL proposals simply flatten the multi-scale representations by concatenation or summation of features vectors, neglecting the spatial structure of the WSI. Our work aims to unleash the full potential of pyramidal structured WSI; to do so, we propose a graph-based multi-scale MIL approach, termed DAS-MIL, that exploits message passing to let information flows across multiple scales. By means of a knowledge distillation schema, the alignment between the latent space representation at different resolutions is encouraged while preserving the diversity in the informative content. The effectiveness of the proposed framework is demonstrated on two well-known datasets, where we outperform SOTA on WSI classification, gaining a +1.9% AUC and +3.3¬curacy on the popular Camelyon16 benchmark.


Bontempo, Gianpaolo; Porrello, Angelo; Bolelli, Federico; Calderara, Simone; Ficarra, Elisa "DAS-MIL: Distilling Across Scales for MILClassification of Histological WSIs" Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention – MICCAI 2023, vol. 14220, Vancouver, pp. 248 -258 , Oct 8-12, 2023 DOI: 10.1007/978-3-031-43907-0_24

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