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Proceedings Paper

Segmentation of histological structures for fractal analysis
Author(s): Vanessa Dixon; Alexei Kouznetsov; Mauro Tambasco
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Paper Abstract

Pathologists examine histology sections to make diagnostic and prognostic assessments regarding cancer based on deviations in cellular and/or glandular structures. However, these assessments are subjective and exhibit some degree of observer variability. Recent studies have shown that fractal dimension (a quantitative measure of structural complexity) has proven useful for characterizing structural deviations and exhibits great potential for automated cancer diagnosis and prognosis. Computing fractal dimension relies on accurate image segmentation to capture the architectural complexity of the histology specimen. For this purpose, previous studies have used techniques such as intensity histogram analysis and edge detection algorithms. However, care must be taken when segmenting pathologically relevant structures since improper edge detection can result in an inaccurate estimation of fractal dimension. In this study, we established a reliable method for segmenting edges from grayscale images. We used a Koch snowflake, an object of known fractal dimension, to investigate the accuracy of various edge detection algorithms and selected the most appropriate algorithm to extract the outline structures. Next, we created validation objects ranging in fractal dimension from 1.3 to 1.9 imitating the size, structural complexity, and spatial pixel intensity distribution of stained histology section images. We applied increasing intensity thresholds to the validation objects to extract the outline structures and observe the effects on the corresponding segmentation and fractal dimension. The intensity threshold yielding the maximum fractal dimension provided the most accurate fractal dimension and segmentation, indicating that this quantitative method could be used in an automated classification system for histology specimens.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 February 2009
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 7260, Medical Imaging 2009: Computer-Aided Diagnosis, 72603E (28 February 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.812437
Show Author Affiliations
Vanessa Dixon, Tom Baker Cancer Ctr. (Canada)
Alexei Kouznetsov, Univ. of Calgary (Canada)
Tom Baker Cancer Ctr. (Canada)
Mauro Tambasco, Univ. of Calgary (Canada)
Tom Baker Cancer Ctr. (Canada)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7260:
Medical Imaging 2009: Computer-Aided Diagnosis
Nico Karssemeijer; Maryellen L. Giger, Editor(s)

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