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This article is part of the supplement: Proceedings of the Fourth Annual MCBIOS Conference. Computational Frontiers in Biomedicine

Open Access Proceedings

Automatic delineation of malignancy in histopathological head and neck slides

Mutlu Mete1, Xiaowei Xu2*, Chun-Yang Fan3 and Gal Shafirstein4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Applied Science, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

2 Department of Information Science, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

3 Department of Pathology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

4 Department of Otolaryngology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

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BMC Bioinformatics 2007, 8(Suppl 7):S17  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-8-S7-S17

Published: 1 November 2007

Abstract

Background

Histopathology, which is one of the most important routines of all laboratory procedures used in pathology, is decisive for the diagnosis of cancer. Experienced histopathologists review the histological slides acquired from biopsy specimen in order to outline malignant areas. Recently, improvements in imaging technologies in terms of histological image analysis led to the discovery of virtual histological slides. In this technique, a computerized microscope scans a glass slide and generates virtual slides at a resolution of 0.25 μm/pixel. As the recognition of intrinsic cancer areas is time consuming and error prone, in this study we develop a novel method to tackle automatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck detection problem in high-resolution, wholly-scanned histopathological slides.

Results

A density-based clustering algorithm improved for this study plays a key role in the determination of the corrupted cell nuclei. Using the Support Vector Machines (SVMs) Classifier, experimental results on seven head and neck slides show that the proposed algorithm performs well, obtaining an average of 96% classification accuracy.

Conclusion

Recent advances in imaging technology enable us to investigate cancer tissue at cellular level. In this study we focus on wholly-scanned histopathological slides of head and neck tissues. In the context of computer-aided diagnosis, delineation of malignant regions is achieved using a powerful classification algorithm, which heavily depends on the features extracted by aid of a newly proposed cell nuclei clustering technique. The preliminary experimental results demonstrate a high accuracy of the proposed method.