Data-driven artificial intelligence (AI) could help improve prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment, according to researchers at Sweden’s Science for Life Laboratory.
Cancer tumours are all unique, with characteristics changing over time. The number of men who receive a prostate cancer diagnosis every year is 47,000, which equates to 129 men every day.
Researchers have demonstrated how data-driven AI methodology has the potential to improve prostate cancer diagnosis and aid experts to better understand the major events regarding heterogeneity in prostate tumours and in the surrounding micro-environment.
Analysing active genes
The research team from KTH and Karolinksa Institutet, led by Joakim Lundeberg, professor of molecular biology at KTH, used data acquired from around 6,750 tissue samples with spatial transcriptomics, a method that combines tissue with quantitative analysis of the active genes, which has been developed by KTH and Karolinska Institutet at SciLifeLab.
According to Lundeberg the use of spatial information makes a big contribution. Analysis of prostate tumour gene activity in a tissue section dramatically increases the granularity, compared to conventional tumour analysis.
He said: “We have demonstrated that sampling different parts of the same prostate tumour shows remarkable differences on the gene activity level of the cancer cells at each site as well as the surrounding non-tumour cells, such as cells related to inflammation response likely to be linked to outcome of the patient.”
A basis for AI-based clinical evaluation
Having this strong source of information enables unattended AI methods to identify genetic patterns that cannot be seen by the naked eye, Lundeberg added.
By having a vast tissue genetic analysis, it can serve as a basis for an AI-based clinical evaluation of cancerous tissues and provide insight into gene expression in the tumour’s micro-environment.
He added: “AI simply helps us to create a computerised tissue anatomy.”
Emilie Berglund, a doctoral student at KTH, said: “Early remedy of primary prostate cancer is efficient; however, differentiating those that will progress to aggressive cases and who will benefit from what treatment is still problematic.
“We hope that this study makes a significant contribution to these aspects.”