Automated image analysis of digital colposcopy for the detection of cervical neoplasia

J Biomed Opt. Jan-Feb 2008;13(1):014029. doi: 10.1117/1.2830654.


Digital colposcopy is a promising technology for the detection of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. Automated analysis of colposcopic images could provide an inexpensive alternative to existing screening tools. Our goal is to develop a diagnostic tool that can automatically identify neoplastic tissue from digital images. A multispectral digital colposcope (MDC) is used to acquire reflectance images of the cervix with white light before and after acetic-acid application in 29 patients. A diagnostic image analysis tool is developed to identify neoplasia in the digital images. The digital image analysis is performed in two steps. First, similar optical patterns are clustered together. Second, classification algorithms are used to determine the probability that these regions contain neoplastic tissue. The classification results of each patient's images are assessed relative to the gold standard of histopathology. Acetic acid induces changes in the intensity of reflected light as well as the ratio of green to red reflected light. These changes are used to differentiate high-grade squamous intraepithelial (HGSIL) and cancerous lesions from normal or low-grade squamous intraepithelial (LGSIL) tissue. We report diagnostic performance with a sensitivity of 79% and a specificity of 88%. We show that diagnostically useful digital images of the cervix can be obtained using a simple and inexpensive device, and that automated image analysis algorithms show a potential to identify histologically neoplastic tissue areas.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algorithms*
  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Colposcopy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pattern Recognition, Automated / methods*
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology*