Pub. online:1 Jan 2018Type:Research ArticleOpen Access
Volume 29, Issue 1 (2018), pp. 75–90
The recent introduction of whole-slide scanning systems enabled accumulation of high-quality pathology images into large collections, thus opening new perspectives in cancer research, as well as new analysis challenges. Automated identification of tumour tissue in the whole-slide image enables further use of developed grading systems that classify tumour cell abnormalities and predict tumour developments. In this article, we describe several possibilities to achieve epithelium-stroma classification of tumour tissues in digital pathology images by employing annotated superpixels to train machine learning algorithms. We emphasize that annotating superpixels rather than manually outlining tissue classes in raw images is less time consuming, and more effective way of producing ground truth for computational pathology pipelines. In our approach feature space for supervised learning is created from tissue class assigned superpixels by extracting colour and texture parameters, and applying dimensionality reduction methods. Alternatively, to train convolutional neural network, labelled superpixels are used to generate square image patches by moving fixed size window around each superpixel centroid. The proposed method simplifies the process of ground truth data collection and should minimize the time spent by a skilled expert to perform manual annotation of whole-slide images. We evaluate our method on a private data set of colorectal cancer images. Obtained results confirm that a method produces accurate reference data suitable for the use of different machine learning based classification algorithms.