Cycle-consistent GAN-based stain translation of renal pathology images with glomerulus detection application

Ying Chih Lo, I. Fang Chung, Shin Ning Guo, Mei Chin Wen, Chia Feng Juang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Motivation: Renal biopsy is an irreplaceable diagnostic tool for kidney diseases. Glomeruli provide important information for an accurate disease diagnosis. This paper applies deep learning techniques to automate translation of renal pathology images and glomerulus detection to improve the efficiency and accuracy on pathological diagnoses. Methods: This paper first proposes a new method for automatic translation of different renal pathology staining styles using the cycle-consistent Generative Adversarial Network (GAN). This paper then proposes the combination of faster region-based convolutional neural network (R-CNN) with an aspect ratio filter to detect glomeruli in light microscopy images processed with four different stains at various optical magnifications. Finally, this paper improves glomerulus detection at different stains by using translated image stains from the CycleGAN. Results: To show the effectiveness of the translation and detection methods, in addition to quantitative analysis of the results, the involvement of assessment from four physicians is also performed. Experimental results show that the physicians fail to differentiate real and translated stains and the automatic glomerulus detection method outperforms that manually labeled by the physicians. Conclusion: The proposed method works well and improves the efficiency of renal pathological diagnosis. This work contributes in the area of automated medical diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106822
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Soft Computing
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Convolutional neural networks
  • Deep learning
  • Generative adversarial network
  • Glomerulus detection
  • Renal pathology stain


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