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PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e39936. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0039936. Epub 2012 Jun 28.

Using X-ray in-line phase-contrast imaging for the investigation of nude mouse hepatic tumors.

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  • 1School of Biomedical Engineering, Capital Medical University, You An Men, Beijing, China.


The purpose of this paper is to report the noninvasive imaging of hepatic tumors without contrast agents. Both normal tissues and tumor tissues can be detected, and tumor tissues in different stages can be classified quantitatively. We implanted BEL-7402 human hepatocellular carcinoma cells into the livers of nude mice and then imaged the livers using X-ray in-line phase-contrast imaging (ILPCI). The projection images' texture feature based on gray level co-occurrence matrix (GLCM) and dual-tree complex wavelet transforms (DTCWT) were extracted to discriminate normal tissues and tumor tissues. Different stages of hepatic tumors were classified using support vector machines (SVM). Images of livers from nude mice sacrificed 6 days after inoculation with cancer cells show diffuse distribution of the tumor tissue, but images of livers from nude mice sacrificed 9, 12, or 15 days after inoculation with cancer cells show necrotic lumps in the tumor tissue. The results of the principal component analysis (PCA) of the texture features based on GLCM of normal regions were positive, but those of tumor regions were negative. The results of PCA of the texture features based on DTCWT of normal regions were greater than those of tumor regions. The values of the texture features in low-frequency coefficient images increased monotonically with the growth of the tumors. Different stages of liver tumors can be classified using SVM, and the accuracy is 83.33%. Noninvasive and micron-scale imaging can be achieved by X-ray ILPCI. We can observe hepatic tumors and small vessels from the phase-contrast images. This new imaging approach for hepatic cancer is effective and has potential use in the early detection and classification of hepatic tumors.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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