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One size fits all: Evaluation of the transferability of a new "learning" histologic image analysis application

: Arlt, J.; Homeyer, A.; Sänger, C.; Dahmen, U.; Dirsch, O.


Applied immunohistochemistry & molecular morphology : AIMM 24 (2016), Nr.1, S.1-10
ISSN: 1062-3345
ISSN: 1541-2016
ISSN: 1533-4058
Fraunhofer MEVIS ()

Quantitative analysis of histologic slides is of importance for pathology and also to address surgical questions. Recently, a novel application was developed for the automated quantification of whole-slide images. The aim of this study was to test and validate the underlying image analysis algorithm with respect to user friendliness, accuracy, and transferability to different histologic scenarios. The algorithm splits the images into tiles of a predetermined size and identifies the tissue class of each tile. In the training procedure, the user specifies example tiles of the different tissue classes. In the subsequent analysis procedure, the algorithm classifies each tile into the previously specified classes. User friendliness was evaluated by recording training time and testing reproducibility of the training procedure of users with different background. Accuracy was determined with respect to single and batch analysis. Transferability was demonstrated by analyzing tissue of different organs (rat liver, kidney, small bowel, and spleen) and with different stainings (glutamine synthetase and hematoxylin-eosin). Users of different educational background could apply the program efficiently after a short introduction. When analyzing images with similar properties, accuracy of >90% was reached in single images as well as in batch mode. We demonstrated that the novel application is user friendly and very accurate. With the "training" procedure the application can be adapted to novel image characteristics simply by giving examples of relevant tissue structures. Therefore, it is suitable for the fast and efficient analysis of high numbers of fully digitalized histologic sections, potentially allowing "high-throughput" quantitative "histomic" analysis.