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Detecting evidence of invasive fungal infections in cytology and histopathology reports enriched with concept-level annotations


  • Rozova, Vlada
  • Khanina, Anna
  • Teng, Jasmine C.
  • Teh, Joanne S.K.
  • Worth, Leon J.
  • Slavin, Monica A.
  • Thursky, Karin A.
  • Verspoor, Karin


Journal of Biomedical Informatics, Volume 139, 2023-03-31

Article Link: Click here

Invasive fungal infections (IFIs) are particularly dangerous to high-risk patients with haematological malignancies and are responsible for excessive mortality and delays in cancer therapy. Surveillance of IFI in clinical settings offers an opportunity to identify potential risk factors and evaluate new therapeutic strategies. However, manual surveillance is both time- and resource-intensive. As part of a broader project aimed to develop a system for automated IFI surveillance by leveraging electronic medical records, we present our approach to detecting evidence of IFI in the key diagnostic domain of histopathology. Using natural language processing (NLP), we analysed cytology and histopathology reports to identify IFI-positive reports. We compared a conventional bag-of-words classification model to a method that relies on concept-level annotations. Although the investment to prepare data supporting concept annotations is substantial, extracting targeted information specific to IFI as a pre-processing step increased the performance of the classifier from the PR AUC of 0.84 to 0.92 and enabled model interpretability. We have made publicly available the annotated dataset of 283 reports, the Cytology and Histopathology IFI Reports corpus (CHIFIR), to allow the clinical NLP research community to further build on our results.