Method for counting mitoses by image processing in Feulgen stained breast cancer sections

T K ten Kate, J A Beliën, A W Smeulders, J P Baak

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50 Citations (Scopus)


This study describes an image processing method for the assessment of the mitotic count in Feulgen-stained breast cancer sections. The segmentation procedure was optimized to eliminate 95-98% of the nonmitoses, whereas 11% of the mitoses did not survive the segmentation procedure. Contour features and optical density measurements of the remaining objects were computed to allow for classification. Twelve specimens were analyzed, nine used to serve as a training set, and three put aside for later use as independent test set. The fully automatic image processing method correctly classified 81% of the mitoses at the specimen level while inserting 30% false positives. The automatic procedure strongly correlated with the interactive counting procedure (r = 0.98). Although the fully automatic method provided satisfactory results, it is not yet suited for clinical practice. The automated method with an interactive evaluation step gave an accurate reflection of the mitotic count showing an almost perfect correlation with the results of the interactive morphometry (r = 0.998). Therefore this semiautomated method may be useful as prescreening device.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-50
Number of pages10
JournalCytometry Part B. Clinical Cytometry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • Automation
  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Cell Count
  • Coloring Agents
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Journal Article
  • Mitosis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Rosaniline Dyes
  • Software

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