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This article is part of the supplement: 2006 International Workshop on Multiscale Biological Imaging, Data Mining and Informatics

Open Access Research

Utility of multispectral imaging for nuclear classification of routine clinical histopathology imagery

Laura E Boucheron12*, Zhiqiang Bi1, Neal R Harvey2, BS Manjunath1 and David L Rimm3

Author Affiliations

1 Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, 93106, USA

2 Space and Remote Sensing Sciences, Los Alamos National Laboratory, P.O. Box 1663, Los Alamos, NM, 87545, USA

3 Department of Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine, P.O. Box 208023, New Haven, CT, 06520, USA

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BMC Cell Biology 2007, 8(Suppl 1):S8  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-8-S1-S8

Published: 10 July 2007



We present an analysis of the utility of multispectral versus standard RGB imagery for routine H&E stained histopathology images, in particular for pixel-level classification of nuclei. Our multispectral imagery has 29 spectral bands, spaced 10 nm within the visual range of 420–700 nm. It has been hypothesized that the additional spectral bands contain further information useful for classification as compared to the 3 standard bands of RGB imagery. We present analyses of our data designed to test this hypothesis.


For classification using all available image bands, we find the best performance (equal tradeoff between detection rate and false alarm rate) is obtained from either the multispectral or our "ccd" RGB imagery, with an overall increase in performance of 0.79% compared to the next best performing image type. For classification using single image bands, the single best multispectral band (in the red portion of the spectrum) gave a performance increase of 0.57%, compared to performance of the single best RGB band (red). Additionally, red bands had the highest coefficients/preference in our classifiers. Principal components analysis of the multispectral imagery indicates only two significant image bands, which is not surprising given the presence of two stains.


Our results indicate that multispectral imagery for routine H&E stained histopathology provides minimal additional spectral information for a pixel-level nuclear classification task than would standard RGB imagery.