Tsipouras MG, Giannakeas N, Tzallas AT et al.
Division of Gastroenterology, Faculty of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, University of Ioannina, GR45110 Ioannina, Greece; Department of Computer Engineering, School of Applied Technology, Technological Educational Institute of Epirus, Kostakioi, GR47100, Arta, Greece. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Computer methods and programs in biomedicine. Mar 2017.
Collagen proportional area (CPA) extraction in liver biopsy images provides the degree of fibrosis expansion in liver tissue, which is the most characteristic histological alteration in hepatitis C virus (HCV). Assessment of the fibrotic tissue is currently based on semiquantitative staging scores such as Ishak and Metavir. Since its introduction as a fibrotic tissue assessment technique, CPA calculation based on image analysis techniques has proven to be more accurate than semiquantitative scores. However, CPA has yet to reach everyday clinical practice, since the lack of standardized and robust methods for computerized image analysis for CPA assessment have proven to be a major limitation.The current work introduces a three-stage fully automated methodology for CPA extraction based on machine learning techniques. Specifically, clustering algorithms have been employed for background-tissue separation, as well as for fibrosis detection in liver tissue regions, in the first and the third stage of the methodology, respectively. Due to the existence of several types of tissue regions in the image (such as blood clots, muscle tissue, structural collagen, etc.), classification algorithms have been employed to identify liver tissue regions and exclude all other non-liver tissue regions from CPA computation.For the evaluation of the methodology, 79 liver biopsy images have been employed, obtaining 1.31% mean absolute CPA error, with 0.923 concordance correlation coefficient.The proposed methodology is designed to (i) avoid manual threshold-based and region selection processes, widely used in similar approaches presented in the literature, and (ii) minimize CPA calculation time.