Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Diagnostic Pathology and BioMed Central.

This article is part of the supplement: Proceedings of the 10th European Congress on Telepathology and 4th International Congress on Virtual Microscopy

Open Access Open Badges Proceedings

Breast cancer evaluation by fluorescent dot detection using combined mathematical morphology and multifractal techniques

Branimir Reljin1*, Milorad Paskas1, Irini Reljin1 and Korski Konstanty2

Author Affiliations

1 Digital Image Processing, Telemedicine and Multimedia Lab, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia

2 Molecular Biology Lab, Department of Pathology, Wielkoposka Cancer Center, Poznan, Poland

For all author emails, please log on.

Diagnostic Pathology 2011, 6(Suppl 1):S21  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-6-S1-S21

Published: 30 March 2011



Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) is very accurate method for measuring HER2 gene copies, as a sign of potential breast cancer. This method requires small tissue samples, and has a high sensitivity to detect abnormalities from a histological section. By using multiple colors, this method allows the detection of multiple targets simultaneously. The target parts in the cells become visible as colored dots. The HER-2 probes are visible as orange stained spots under a fluorescent microscope while probes for centromere 17 (CEP-17), the chromosome on which the gene HER-2/neu is located, are visible as green spots.


The conventional analysis involves the scoring of the ratio of HER-2/neu over CEP 17 dots within each cell nucleus and then averaging the scores for a number of 60 cells. A ratio of 2.0 of HER-2/neu to CEP 17 copy number denotes amplification. Several methods have been proposed for the detection and automated evaluation (dot counting) of FISH signals. In this paper the combined method based on the mathematical morphology (MM) and inverse multifractal (IMF) analysis is suggested. Similar method was applied recently in detection of microcalcifications in digital mammograms, and was very successful.


The combined MM using top-hat and bottom-hat filters, and the IMF method was applied to FISH images from Molecular Biology Lab, Department of Pathology, Wielkoposka Cancer Center, Poznan. Initial results indicate that this method can be applied to FISH images for the evaluation of HER2/neu status.


Mathematical morphology and multifractal approach are used for colored dot detection and counting in FISH images. Initial results derived on clinical cases are promising. Note that the overlapping of colored dots, particularly red/orange dots, needs additional improvements in post-processing.