Glioma is the most common primary brain tumor in adults. The diagnosis and grading of different pathological subtypes of glioma is essential in treatment planning and prognosis.


To propose a deep learning–based approach for the automated classification of glioma histopathology images. Two classification methods, the ensemble method based on 2 binary classifiers and the multiclass method using a single multiclass classifier, were implemented to classify glioma images into astrocytoma, oligodendroglioma, and glioblastoma, according to the 5th edition of the World Health Organization classification of central nervous system tumors, published in 2021.


We tested 2 different deep neural network architectures (VGG19 and ResNet50) and extensively validated the proposed approach based on The Cancer Genome Atlas data set (n = 700). We also studied the effects of stain normalization and data augmentation on the glioma classification task.


With the binary classifiers, our model could distinguish astrocytoma and oligodendroglioma (combined) from glioblastoma with an accuracy of 0.917 (area under the curve [AUC] = 0.976) and astrocytoma from oligodendroglioma (accuracy = 0.821, AUC score = 0.865). The multiclass method (accuracy = 0.861, AUC score = 0.961) outperformed the ensemble method (accuracy = 0.847, AUC = 0.933) with the best performance displayed by the ResNet50 architecture.


With the high performance of our model (>80%), the proposed method can assist pathologists and physicians to support examination and differential diagnosis of glioma histopathology images, with the aim to expedite personalized medical care.

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Author notes

The authors have no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article.