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IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 2017 Jul;36(7):1522-1532. doi: 10.1109/TMI.2017.2681519. Epub 2017 Mar 16.

Spatial Statistics for Segmenting Histological Structures in H&E Stained Tissue Images.


Segmenting a broad class of histological structures in transmitted light and/or fluorescence-based images is a prerequisite for determining the pathological basis of cancer, elucidating spatial interactions between histological structures in tumor microenvironments (e.g., tumor infiltrating lymphocytes), facilitating precision medicine studies with deep molecular profiling, and providing an exploratory tool for pathologists. This paper focuses on segmenting histological structures in hematoxylin- and eosin-stained images of breast tissues, e.g., invasive carcinoma, carcinoma in situ, atypical and normal ducts, adipose tissue, and lymphocytes. We propose two graph-theoretic segmentation methods based on local spatial color and nuclei neighborhood statistics. For benchmarking, we curated a data set of 232 high-power field breast tissue images together with expertly annotated ground truth. To accurately model the preference for histological structures (ducts, vessels, tumor nets, adipose, etc.) over the remaining connective tissue and non-tissue areas in ground truth annotations, we propose a new region-based score for evaluating segmentation algorithms. We demonstrate the improvement of our proposed methods over the state-of-the-art algorithms in both region- and boundary-based performance measures.

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