Despite the crucial role of phenotypic and genetic intratumoral heterogeneity in understanding and predicting clinical outcomes for patients with cancer, computational pathology studies have yet to make substantial steps in this area. The major limiting factor has been the bulk gene–sequencing practice that results in loss of spatial information of gene status, making the study of intratumoral heterogeneity difficult. In this issue of Cancer Research, Acosta and colleagues used deep learning to study if localized gene mutation status can be predicted from localized tumor morphology for clear cell renal cell carcinoma. The algorithm was developed using curated sets of matched hematoxylin and eosin and IHC images, which represent spatially resolved morphology and genotype, respectively. This study confirms the existence of a strong link between morphology and underlying genetics on a regional level, paving the way for further investigations into intratumoral heterogeneity.

See related article by Acosta et al., p. 2792

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