Pathology images capture tumor histomorphological details in high resolution. However, manual detection and characterization of tumor regions in pathology images is labor intensive and subjective. Using a deep convolutional neural network (CNN), we developed an automated tumor region recognition system for lung cancer pathology images. From the identified tumor regions, we extracted 22 well-defined shape and boundary features and found that 15 of them were significantly associated with patient survival outcome in lung adenocarcinoma patients from the National Lung Screening Trial. A tumor region shape-based prognostic model was developed and validated in an independent patient cohort (n = 389). The predicted high-risk group had significantly worse survival than the low-risk group (p value = 0.0029). Predicted risk group serves as an independent prognostic factor (high-risk vs. low-risk, hazard ratio = 2.25, 95% CI 1.34-3.77, p value = 0.0022) after adjusting for age, gender, smoking status, and stage. This study provides new insights into the relationship between tumor shape and patient prognosis.
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