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J Pathol Inform. 2013 Mar 30;4(Suppl):S1. doi: 10.4103/2153-3539.109802. Print 2013.

HyMaP: A hybrid magnitude-phase approach to unsupervised segmentation of tumor areas in breast cancer histology images.

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Department of Computer Science, University of Warwick, UK.



Segmentation of areas containing tumor cells in standard H&E histopathology images of breast (and several other tissues) is a key task for computer-assisted assessment and grading of histopathology slides. Good segmentation of tumor regions is also vital for automated scoring of immunohistochemical stained slides to restrict the scoring or analysis to areas containing tumor cells only and avoid potentially misleading results from analysis of stromal regions. Furthermore, detection of mitotic cells is critical for calculating key measures such as mitotic index; a key criteria for grading several types of cancers including breast cancer. We show that tumor segmentation can allow detection and quantification of mitotic cells from the standard H&E slides with a high degree of accuracy without need for special stains, in turn making the whole process more cost-effective.


BASED ON THE TISSUE MORPHOLOGY, BREAST HISTOLOGY IMAGE CONTENTS CAN BE DIVIDED INTO FOUR REGIONS: Tumor, Hypocellular Stroma (HypoCS), Hypercellular Stroma (HyperCS), and tissue fat (Background). Background is removed during the preprocessing stage on the basis of color thresholding, while HypoCS and HyperCS regions are segmented by calculating features using magnitude and phase spectra in the frequency domain, respectively, and performing unsupervised segmentation on these features.


All images in the database were hand segmented by two expert pathologists. The algorithms considered here are evaluated on three pixel-wise accuracy measures: precision, recall, and F1-Score. The segmentation results obtained by combining HypoCS and HyperCS yield high F1-Score of 0.86 and 0.89 with re-spect to the ground truth.


In this paper, we show that segmentation of breast histopathology image into hypocellular stroma and hypercellular stroma can be achieved using magnitude and phase spectra in the frequency domain. The segmentation leads to demarcation of tumor margins leading to improved accuracy of mitotic cell detection.


Breast cancer grading; histopathology image analysis; magnitude and phase spectra of Gabor filters; mitotic cell detection; texture feature; tumor segmentation

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