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Cancer. 1990 May 1;65(9):2047-54.

Characterization of human colorectal mucosa, polyps, and cancers by means of computerized morphonuclear image analyses.

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Department of Pathology, Hospital Erasme, Brussels, Belgium.


Fifty-eight Feulgen-stained imprint smears from freshly resected colorectal tissue were analyzed by means of a SAMBA 200 cell image processor to establish a quantitative grading of their evolution from normal to malignant mucosa on the basis of 15 morphonuclear parameters relative to morphometry (nuclear size), densitometry (DNA content), and texture (chromatin pattern). The colorectal samples belonged to six groups: normal mucosa from patients without (Group 1) or with (Group 2) colorectal cancer, adenomas (Group 3), and cancers corresponding to the three stages of the Dukes' classification (Groups 4 to 6). Results indicated that analysis of the morphonuclear parameters computed on 250 to 300 nuclei/cases objectively and quantitatively showed the adenoma-cancer sequence. This need for only a small number of nuclei to assess a highly efficient analysis created a preoperative investigative tool using cytologic smears during endoscopy. The authors also made preliminary data banks for objective and reproducible grading of unknown cases by comparisons (discriminant analyses) with their contents. This approach must be validated prospectively on a large series of cases to furnish a system for colorectal malignancy diagnosis.

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