Synplex: In Silico Modeling of the Tumor Microenvironment From Multiplex Images
Daniel Jimenez-Sanchez, Mikel Ariz, Carlos E De Andrea, Carlos Ortiz-De-Solorzano
Multiplex immunofluorescence is a novel, high-content imaging technique that allows simultaneous in situ labeling of multiple tissue antigens.
This technique is of growing relevance in the study of the tumor microenvironment, and the discovery of biomarkers of disease progression or response to immune-based therapies.
Given the number of markers and the potential complexity of the spatial interactions involved, the analysis of these images requires the use of machine learning tools that rely for their training on the availability of large image datasets, extremely laborious to annotate.
We present Synplex, a computer simulator of multiplexed immunofluorescence images from user-defined parameters: i. cell phenotypes, defined by the level of expression of markers and morphological parameters; ii. cellular neighborhoods based on the spatial association of cell phenotypes; and iii. interactions between cellular neighborhoods.
We validate Synplex by generating synthetic tissues that accurately simulate real cancer cohorts with underlying differences in the composition of their tumor microenvironment and show proof-of-principle examples of how Synplex could be used for data augmentation when training machine learning models, and for the in silico selection of clinically relevant biomarkers.