New statistical method offers automatic mitotic cell detection for cancer diagnosis

Nov 09, 2012

(Phys.org)—Scientists have developed a statistical image analysis method which can assist in the grading of breast cancer by automatically segmenting tumour regions and detecting dividing cells in tissue samples.

The system, developed at the University of Warwick, promises to bring and automation to the cancer grading process which is used to determine the of the treatment offered to the patient.

Number of mitotic cells, cells which are dividing to create new cells, is a key indicator used by histopathologists for diagnosing and grading cancer.

At present the dominant system in the UK and much of the world – the Nottingham Grading System - is based on of to determine the severity of the cancer.

As a subjective system dependent on visual analysis, it can produce substantial variability in diagnostic assessment, resulting in low agreement between pathologists.

A conducted by researchers at Warwick found there to be an agreement of 19 per cent between three pathologists in identifying the mitotic cells.

In response to the need for more objectivity, a team at the University of Warwick have developed a three-step method which takes an image of tissue samples and applies statistical modelling to detect mitotic cells in that image.

Dr Nasir Rajpoot from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Warwick said: "It has long been recognised that there is a need to increase objectivity in the cancer grading process.

"This grading process determines the treatment offered to people who have been diagnosed with cancer, so it's vital to get it right in order to prevent patients undergoing unnecessarily .

"We believe our method takes a significant step towards this by offering an objective, automatic technique to assist the pathologists in grading of ."

The method consists of three key steps. Firstly it segments the tumour margins, a step which is critical to the accuracy of mitotic cell detection.

Secondly it statistically models the intensity distribution of mitotic and non-mitotic cells in tumour areas, ignoring the non-tumorous areas. This step therefore identifies potential mitotic cells in tumour areas.

Finally the method looks at the surrounding architecture of these potential mitotic cell candidates in order to confirm them as mitotic cells, thereby reducing the number of possible false alarms.

Although there are algorithms in existence which provide automation in some parts of the mitotic cell detection process, the method developed at Warwick is the first to offer a comprehensive solution addressing the entire process.

The method is outlined in a study focusing on breast cancer histology images presented at a major conference on the subject.

Although the research to date has centred on breast cancer histology images, the scientists believe the method can be applied to other types of cancer.

In a pilot study, the has been successfully tested against two expert pathologists' identification of the mitotic cells. Larger scale trials are currently under way and a patent application has been filed. The researchers are also keen to collaborate with industrial partners.

The study, entitled "A Gamma-Gaussian Mixture Model for detection of mitotic cells in breast cancer histopathology images," is authored by PhD student Mr Adnan Khan, his supervisor Dr Nasir Rajpoot, and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trustconsultant histopathologist Dr Hesham El-Daly, and is due to be presented at the International Conference on Pattern Recognition (ICPR 2012) to be held in Tsukuba, Japan between 11-16 November, 2012.

Explore further: Researchers help Boston Marathon organizers plan for 2014 race

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Breast cancer prognosis goes high tech

Apr 18, 2011

Cancer researchers at the University of Calgary are investigating a new tool to use for the prognosis of breast cancer in patients. This new digital tool will help give patients a more accurate assessment ...

Computer-assisted diagnosis tools to aid pathologists

Jan 31, 2011

Researchers are leveraging Ohio Supercomputer Center resources to develop computer-assisted diagnosis tools that will provide pathologists grading Follicular Lymphoma samples with quicker, more consistently ...

Recommended for you

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

11 hours ago

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Apr 18, 2014

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...