Computer-assisted quantification of CD3+ T cells in follicular lymphoma.

Abas FS, Shana'ah A, Christian B, Hasserjian R, Louissaint A Jr, Pennell M, Sahiner B, Chen W, Niazi MKK, Lozanski G, Gurcan M
Cytometry A 91 609-621 01/01/2017


The advance of high resolution digital scans of pathology slides allowed development of computer based image analysis algorithms that may help pathologists in IHC stains quantification. While very promising, these methods require further refinement before they are implemented in routine clinical setting. Particularly critical is to evaluate algorithm performance in a setting similar to current clinical practice. In this article, we present a pilot study that evaluates the use of a computerized cell quantification method in the clinical estimation of CD3 positive (CD3+) T cells in follicular lymphoma (FL). Our goal is to demonstrate the degree to which computerized quantification is comparable to the practice of estimation by a panel of expert pathologists. The computerized quantification method uses entropy based histogram thresholding to separate brown (CD3+) and blue (CD3-) regions after a color space transformation. A panel of four board-certified hematopathologists evaluated a database of 20 FL images using two different reading methods: visual estimation and manual marking of each CD3+ cell in the images. These image data and the readings provided a reference standard and the range of variability among readers. Sensitivity and specificity measures of the computer's segmentation of CD3+ and CD- T cell are recorded. For all four pathologists, mean sensitivity and specificity measures are 90.97 and 88.38%, respectively. The computerized quantification method agrees more with the manual cell marking as compared to the visual estimations. Statistical comparison between the computerized quantification method and the pathologist readings demonstrated good agreement with correlation coefficient values of 0.81 and 0.96 in terms of Lin's concordance correlation and Spearman's correlation coefficient, respectively. These values are higher than most of those calculated among the pathologists. In the future, the computerized quantification method may be used to investigate the relationship between the overall architectural pattern (i.e., interfollicular vs. follicular) and outcome measures (e.g., overall survival, and time to treatment). © 2017 International Society for Advancement of Cytometry.

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