Diagnosis of Liver Neoplasms by Computational and Statistical Image Analysis

Rong Xia, Amir M. Boroujeni, Stephanie Shea, Yongsheng Pan, Raag Agrawal, Elhem Yousefi, M. Isabel Fiel, M.A. Haseeb, Raavi Gupta


Background: Distinguishing well-differentiated hepatocellular carcinoma (WD-HCC), hepatocellular adenoma (HA) and non-neoplastic liver tissue (NNLT) solely on morphology is often challenging. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the use of computational image analysis to distinguish WD-HCC, HA and NNLT.

Methods: Seventy-seven cases comprising of WD-HCC (n = 26), HA (n = 23) and NNLT (n = 28) were retrieved and reviewed. A total of 485 hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) photomicrographs (/span> 400, 0.09 m2) of WD-HCC (n = 183), HA (n = 173), NNLT (n = 129) and nine whole-slide scans (three of each diagnosis) were obtained, color deconvoluted and digitally transformed. Quantitative data including nuclear density, nuclear sphericity, nuclear perimeter, and nuclear eccentricity from each image were acquired. The data were analyzed by one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with Tukey post hoc test, followed by unsupervised and supervised (Chi-square automatic interaction detection (CHAID)) cluster analysis.

Results: Unsupervised cluster analysis identified three well defined clusters of WD-HCC, HA and NNLT. Employing the four most discriminating nuclear features, supervised analysis was performed on a training set of 383 images, and validated on the remaining 102 test images. The analysis identified WD-HCC (sensitivity 100%, specificity 98%), HA (sensitivity 71%, specificity 85%) and NNLT (sensitivity 70%, specificity 86%). An analysis of whole-slide images identified WD-HCC with sensitivity and specificity of 100%.

Conclusions: We have successfully demonstrated that computational image analysis of nuclear features can differentiate WD-HCC from non-malignant liver with high accuracy, and can be used to assist in the histopathological diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Gastroenterol Res. 2019;12(6):288-298
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/gr1210


Image analysis; Liver; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Hepatocellular adenoma; Computational analysis

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