AI method can detect precursors to cervical cancer
Using artificial intelligence and mobile digital microscopy, researchers hope to create screening tools that can detect precursors to cervical cancer in women in resource-limited settings. A study led by researchers now shows that AI screenings of pap smears carried out with portable scanners were comparable to analyses done by pathologists. The results are published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

For this study, the researchers trained an AI system to recognize cell abnormalities in the cervix, which when detected early can be successfully treated. Smears were taken from 740 women. The samples were then digitalized using a portable scanner and uploaded via mobile networks to a cloud-based deep-learning system (DLS). Just under half of the smears were used to train the program to recognize different precancerous lesions while the remainder was used to evaluate its accuracy.

The AI assessment was then compared with that made by two independent pathologists of the digital and physical samples. The study shows that the assessments were very similar. The DLS had a sensitivity of 96-100 percent as regards identifying patients with precancerous lesions. No patients with more serious high-grade lesions received a false-positive assessment. As regards identifying smears without lesions, the DLS made the same assessment as the pathologists in 78-85 percent of cases.

The researchers believe that the method can be used to exclude a majority of smears, which would free up time for local experts to examine the ones that stick out.

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Which portable scanner was used?
Mar 29, 2021Like