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IEEE Trans Image Process. 2005 Sep;14(9):1288-99.

Automated evaluation of Her-2/neu status in breast tissue from fluorescent in situ hybridization images.

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  • 1Artificial Intelligence and Information Analysis Laboratory, Department of Informatics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki 54124, Greece.


The evaluation of fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) images is one of the most widely used methods to determine Her-2/neu status of breast samples, a valuable prognostic indicator. Conventional evaluation is a difficult task since it involves manual counting of dots in multiple images. In this paper, we present a multistage algorithm for the automated classification of FISH images from breast carcinomas. The algorithm focuses not only on the detection of FISH dots per image, but also on combining results from multiple images taken from a slice for overall case classification. The algorithm includes mainly two stages for nuclei and dot detection respectively. The dot segmentation consists of a top-hat filtering stage followed by template matching to separate real signals from noise. Nuclei segmentation includes a nonlinearity correction step, global thresholding to identify candidate regions, and a geometric rule to distinguish between holes within a nucleus and holes between nuclei. Finally, the marked watershed transform is used to segment cell nuclei with markers detected as regional maxima of the distance transform. Combining the two stages allows the measurement of FISH signals ratio per cell nucleus and the collective classification of cases as positive or negative. The system was evaluated with receiver operating characteristic analysis and the results were encouraging for the further development of this method.

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