Fusion of whole and part features for the classification of histopathological image of breast tissue



Nowadays Computer-Aided Diagnosis (CAD) models, particularly those based on deep learning, have been widely used to analyze histopathological images in breast cancer diagnosis. However, due to the limited availability of such images, it is always tedious to train deep learning models that require a huge amount of training data. In this paper, we propose a new deep learning-based CAD framework that can work with less amount of training data.


We use pre-trained models to extract image features that can then be used with any classifier. Our proposed features are extracted by the fusion of two different types of features (foreground and background) at two levels (whole-level and part-level). Foreground and background feature to capture information about different structures and their layout in microscopic images of breast tissues. Similarly, part-level and whole-level features capture are useful in detecting interesting regions scattered in high-resolution histopathological images at local and whole image levels. At each level, we use VGG16 models pre-trained on ImageNet and Places datasets to extract foreground and background features, respectively. All features are extracted from mid-level pooling layers of such models.


We show that proposed fused features with a Support Vector Classifier (SVM) produce better classification accuracy than recent methods on BACH dataset and our approach is orders of magnitude faster than the best performing recent method (EMS-Net).


We believe that our method would be another alternative in the diagnosis of breast cancer because of performance and prediction time.

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Data availability

The datasets are publicly available.

Code availability

Source codes will be made publicly available upon acceptance of the paper.


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We would like to thank ICIAR2018 grand challenge for providing a histopathological image dataset to use in our research. Dr Sunil Aryal is supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research grant under Award Number FA2386-20-1-4005.


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Correspondence to Chiranjibi Sitaula.

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Sitaula, C., Aryal, S. Fusion of whole and part features for the classification of histopathological image of breast tissue. Health Inf Sci Syst 8, 38 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13755-020-00131-7

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  • Histopathological images
  • Breast cancer
  • Histology
  • Image classification
  • Deep learning
  • Computer-aided diagnosis