Scientists have developed an AI model to help predict whether aggressive forms of breast cancer will spread based on changes in a patient’s lymph nodes.
The research was published last week in the Journal of Pathology by Breast Cancer Now and funded by scientists at King’s College of London.
Secondary or “metastatic breast cancer” refers to when breast cancer cells spread to other parts of the body. Although treatable, it can’t be cured.
Researchers behind last week’s study hope that by using AI to analyze the immune response in the lymph nodes of women with triple-negative breast cancer, they can better gauge how likely it is that the disease will spread.
Lymph nodes are lumps of tissue throughout the body, critical for helping the body fight infection and disease. If breast cancer cells start spreading, patients typically require more intensive treatment.
Dr. Anita Grigoriadis, who led the research, said the team took findings from under a microscope and “translated them into a deep-learning framework to create an AI model to potentially help doctors treat and care for patients, providing them with another tool in their arsenal for helping to prevent secondary breast cancer.”
The researchers tested the AI model on more than 5,000 lymph nodes donated by nearly 350 patients to biobanks.
“By demonstrating that lymph node changes can predict if triple-negative breast cancer will spread, we’ve built on our growing knowledge of the important role that immune response can play in understanding a patient’s prognosis,” Grigoriadis said.
The team is planning to further test the model at centers across Europe.
“The transition from assessing tissue on glass slides under a microscope to using computers in the [National Health Service] is gathering pace,” Grigoriadis said.
“We want to leverage this change to develop AI-powered software based on our model for pathologists to use to benefit women with this hard-to-treat breast cancer.”
How can AI help breast cancer prevention
Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, affecting millions of women worldwide. Recent advancements in AI offer a promising solution to the detection and prevention of breast cancer.
AI can help in the prevention of breast cancer in several ways. One of the most significant applications of AI in breast cancer prevention is its ability to improve accuracy in mammography screening.
Mammograms are a crucial tool in detecting breast cancer, but they are often prone to human error and can miss small tumors.
AI can analyze mammogram images and identify potential abnormalities that may go unnoticed by human radiologists. This can lead to earlier detection of breast cancer and increase the chances of successful treatment.
AI can also help in the development of personalized treatment plans for patients with breast cancer. With large amounts of data available on breast cancer patients and their response to treatment, AI algorithms can analyze this data and develop personalized treatment plans that are tailored to each patient’s unique needs. This can lead to more effective treatments and better outcomes for patients.
Another way AI can help prevent breast cancer is by analyzing lifestyle factors that contribute to the development of the disease.
AI can analyze data on factors such as diet, exercise, and environmental exposures to identify patterns and risk factors that may increase the likelihood of developing breast cancer. This can help individuals make lifestyle changes that can reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.