MulGT: Multi-task Graph-Transformer with Task-aware Knowledge Injection and Domain Knowledge-driven Pooling for Whole Slide Image Analysis

by   Weiqin Zhao, et al.

Whole slide image (WSI) has been widely used to assist automated diagnosis under the deep learning fields. However, most previous works only discuss the SINGLE task setting which is not aligned with real clinical setting, where pathologists often conduct multiple diagnosis tasks simultaneously. Also, it is commonly recognized that the multi-task learning paradigm can improve learning efficiency by exploiting commonalities and differences across multiple tasks. To this end, we present a novel multi-task framework (i.e., MulGT) for WSI analysis by the specially designed Graph-Transformer equipped with Task-aware Knowledge Injection and Domain Knowledge-driven Graph Pooling modules. Basically, with the Graph Neural Network and Transformer as the building commons, our framework is able to learn task-agnostic low-level local information as well as task-specific high-level global representation. Considering that different tasks in WSI analysis depend on different features and properties, we also design a novel Task-aware Knowledge Injection module to transfer the task-shared graph embedding into task-specific feature spaces to learn more accurate representation for different tasks. Further, we elaborately design a novel Domain Knowledge-driven Graph Pooling module for each task to improve both the accuracy and robustness of different tasks by leveraging different diagnosis patterns of multiple tasks. We evaluated our method on two public WSI datasets from TCGA projects, i.e., esophageal carcinoma and kidney carcinoma. Experimental results show that our method outperforms single-task counterparts and the state-of-theart methods on both tumor typing and staging tasks.


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