Automatic classification of hepatocellular carcinoma images based on nuclear and structural features

Tomoharu Kiyuna, Akira Saito, Atsushi Marugame, Yoshiko Yamashita, Maki Ogura, Eric Cosatto, Tokiya Abe, Akinori Hashiguchi, Michiie Sakamoto

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

7 Citations (Scopus)


Diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) on the basis of digital images is a challenging problem because, unlike gastrointestinal carcinoma, strong structural and morphological features are limited and sometimes absent from HCC images. In this study, we describe the classification of HCC images using statistical distributions of features obtained from image analysis of cell nuclei and hepatic trabeculae. Images of 130 hematoxylin-eosin (HE) stained histologic slides were captured at 20X by a slide scanner (Nanozoomer, Hamamatsu Photonics, Japan) and 1112 regions of interest (ROI) images were extracted for classification (551 negatives and 561 positives, including 113 well-differentiated positives). For a single nucleus, the following features were computed: area, perimeter, circularity, ellipticity, long and short axes of elliptic fit, contour complexity and gray level cooccurrence matrix (GLCM) texture features (angular second moment, contrast, homogeneity and entropy). In addition, distributions of nuclear density and hepatic trabecula thickness within an ROI were also extracted. To represent an ROI, statistical distributions (mean, standard deviation and percentiles) of these features were used. In total, 78 features were extracted for each ROI and a support vector machine (SVM) was trained to classify negative and positive ROIs. Experimental results using 5-fold cross validation show 90% sensitivity for an 87.8% specificity. The use of statistical distributions over a relatively large area makes the HCC classifier robust to occasional failures in the extraction of nuclear or hepatic trabecula features, thus providing stability to the system.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2013
Subtitle of host publicationDigital Pathology
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventSPIE Medical Imaging Symposium 2013: Digital Pathology - Lake Buena Vista, FL, United States
Duration: 2013 Feb 102013 Feb 11

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherSPIE Medical Imaging Symposium 2013: Digital Pathology
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLake Buena Vista, FL


  • Circle packing
  • Contour complexity texture
  • Digital pathology
  • GLCM
  • HCC
  • Support vector machine
  • Trabecula thickness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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