Automated AJCC (7th edition) staging of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) using deep convolutional neural network (CNN) and recurrent neural network (RNN)

  • Dipanjan MoitraEmail author
  • Rakesh Kr. Mandal



A large chunk of lung cancers are of the type non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Both the treatment planning and patients’ prognosis depend greatly on factors like AJCC staging which is an abstraction over TNM staging. Many significant efforts have so far been made towards automated staging of NSCLC, but the groundbreaking application of a deep neural networks (DNNs) is yet to be observed in this domain of study. DNN is capable of achieving higher level of accuracy than the traditional artificial neural networks (ANNs) as it uses deeper layers of convolutional neural network (CNN). The objective of the present study is to propose a simple yet fast CNN model combined with recurrent neural network (RNN) for automated AJCC staging of NSCLC and to compare the outcome with a few standard machine learning algorithms along with a few similar studies.


The NSCLC radiogenomics collection from the cancer imaging archive (TCIA) dataset was considered for the study. The tumor images were refined and filtered by resizing, enhancing, de-noising, etc. The initial image processing phase was followed by texture based image segmentation. The segmented images were fed into a hybrid feature detection and extraction model which was comprised of two sequential phases: maximally stable extremal regions (MSER) and the speeded up robust features (SURF). After a prolonged experiment, the desired CNN-RNN model was derived and the extracted features were fed into the model.


The proposed CNN-RNN model almost outperformed the other machine learning algorithms under consideration. The accuracy remained steadily higher than the other contemporary studies.


The proposed CNN-RNN model performed commendably during the study. Further studies may be carried out to refine the model and develop an improved auxiliary decision support system for oncologists and radiologists.


Lung cancer Deep learning Neural network Staging AJCC Recurrent 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

For this type of study formal consent is not required.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of North BengalSiliguriIndia

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