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Journal of Healthcare Engineering
Volume 2018, Article ID 8961781, 13 pages
Research Article

Gastric Pathology Image Classification Using Stepwise Fine-Tuning for Deep Neural Networks

1Department of Intelligent Interaction Technologies, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba 305-8573, Japan
2Department of Surgical Pathology, Toho University Sakura Medical Center, Sakura 285-8741, Japan
3Artificial Intelligence Research Center, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Tsukuba 305-8560, Japan

Correspondence should be addressed to Jia Qu;

Received 23 March 2018; Revised 14 May 2018; Accepted 27 May 2018; Published 21 June 2018

Academic Editor: Santosh K. Vipparthi

Copyright © 2018 Jia Qu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Deep learning using convolutional neural networks (CNNs) is a distinguished tool for many image classification tasks. Due to its outstanding robustness and generalization, it is also expected to play a key role to facilitate advanced computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) for pathology images. However, the shortage of well-annotated pathology image data for training deep neural networks has become a major issue at present because of the high-cost annotation upon pathologist’s professional observation. Faced with this problem, transfer learning techniques are generally used to reinforcing the capacity of deep neural networks. In order to further boost the performance of the state-of-the-art deep neural networks and alleviate insufficiency of well-annotated data, this paper presents a novel stepwise fine-tuning-based deep learning scheme for gastric pathology image classification and establishes a new type of target-correlative intermediate datasets. Our proposed scheme is deemed capable of making the deep neural network imitating the pathologist’s perception manner and of acquiring pathology-related knowledge in advance, but with very limited extra cost in data annotation. The experiments are conducted with both well-annotated gastric pathology data and the proposed target-correlative intermediate data on several state-of-the-art deep neural networks. The results congruously demonstrate the feasibility and superiority of our proposed scheme for boosting the classification performance.