Perineural invasion detection in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma using artificial intelligence

Sarah Borsekofsky, Shlomo Tsuriel, Rami R. Hagege, Dov Hershkovitz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Perineural invasion (PNI) refers to the presence of cancer cells around or within nerves, raising the risk of residual tumor. Linked to worse prognosis in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), PNI is also being explored as a therapeutic target. The purpose of this work was to build a PNI detection algorithm to enhance accuracy and efficiency in identifying PNI in PDAC specimens. Training used 260 manually segmented nerve and tumor HD images from 6 scanned PDAC cases; Analytical performance analysis used 168 additional images; clinical analysis used 59 PDAC cases. The algorithm pinpointed key areas of tumor-nerve proximity for pathologist confirmation. Analytical performance reached sensitivity of 88% and 54%, and specificity of 78% and 85% for the detection of nerve and tumor, respectively. Incorporating tumor-nerve distance in clinical evaluation raised PNI detection from 52 to 81% of all cases. Interestingly, pathologist analysis required an average of only 24 s per case. This time-efficient tool accurately identifies PNI in PDAC, even with a small training cohort, by imitating pathologist thought processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13628
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


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