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Open Access Research

Automatic measurement of epithelium differentiation and classification of cervical intraneoplasia by computerized image analysis

Michel Jondet*, Régis Agoli-Agbo and Louis Dehennin

Author Affiliations

Cabinet de Pathologie, 34 Rue Ducouedic, 75014 Paris, France

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Diagnostic Pathology 2010, 5:7  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-5-7

Published: 22 January 2010

Abstract

Background

The feasibility of evaluating an objective grading of cervical intraneoplasia lesions (CIN) is attempted using an automatic computerized system able to measure several valuable parameters with special reference to epithelium differentiation.

Methods

4 groups of 10 images each were selected at random from 68 consensus images coming from 80 archival cervical biopsies, normal (n = 10), CIN 1 (n = 10), CIN 2 (n = 10), CIN 3 (n = 10). Representative images of lesions were captured from the microscopic slides and were analyzed using mathematical morphology, with special reference toVoronoï tessellation and Delaunay triangulation. Epithelium surface, nuclear and cytoplasm area, triangle edge and area, total and upper nuclear index were precisely measured in each lesion, and discriminant coefficients were calculated therewith. A dilation/erosion coefficient was automatically defined using triangle edge length and nuclear radius in order to measure the epithelium ratio of differentiation. A histogram ratio was also automatically established between total nuclei and upper nuclei on top of differentiated epithelium. With the latter two ratios added to the nucleo-cytoplasmic ratio, a cervical score able to classify CIN is proposed.

Results

There is a quasi-linear increase of mean cervical score values between normal epithelium and CIN 3: (27) for normal epithelium, (51) for CIN 1, (78) for CIN 2 and (100) for CIN 3, with significant differences (P < 0.05).

Conclusion

Our results highlight the possibility of applying a cervical score for the automatic grading of CIN lesions and thereby assisting the pathologist for improvement of grading. The automatic measure of epithelium differentiation ratio appears to be a new interesting parameter in computerized image analysis of cervical lesions.