Robust quantification of in vitro angiogenesis through image analysis

IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 2005 Apr;24(4):549-53. doi: 10.1109/tmi.2004.837339.


An automated image analysis method for quantification of in vitro angiogenesis is presented. The method is designed for in vitro angiogenesis assays that are based on co-culturing endothelial cells with fibroblasts. Such assays are used in many current studies in which anti-angiogenic agents for the treatment of cancer are being sought. This search requires accurate quantification of the stimulatory and inhibitory effects of the different agents. The quantification method gives lengths and sizes of the tubule complexes as well as the numbers of junctions in each of them. The method is tested with a set of test images obtained with a commercially available in vitro angiogenesis assay. The results correctly indicate the inhibitory effect of suramin and the stimulatory effect of vascular endothelial growth factor. Moreover, the image analysis method is shown to be robust against variations in illumination. We have implemented a software package that utilizes the methods. The software as well as a set of test images are available at

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Letter
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Animals
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Coculture Techniques / methods
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology*
  • Endothelial Cells / drug effects
  • Endothelial Cells / physiology
  • Fibroblasts / cytology*
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / drug effects
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Automated / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Subtraction Technique
  • Suramin / pharmacology
  • Tissue Engineering / methods
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / pharmacology


  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Suramin