Fractal analysis of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia

PLoS One. 2014 Oct 10;9(10):e108457. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108457. eCollection 2014.


Introduction: Cervical intraepithelial neoplasias (CIN) represent precursor lesions of cervical cancer. These neoplastic lesions are traditionally subdivided into three categories CIN 1, CIN 2, and CIN 3, using microscopical criteria. The relation between grades of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and its fractal dimension was investigated to establish a basis for an objective diagnosis using the method proposed.

Methods: Classical evaluation of the tissue samples was performed by an experienced gynecologic pathologist. Tissue samples were scanned and saved as digital images using Aperio scanner and software. After image segmentation the box counting method as well as multifractal methods were applied to determine the relation between fractal dimension and grades of CIN. A total of 46 images were used to compare the pathologist's neoplasia grades with the predicted groups obtained by fractal methods.

Results: Significant or highly significant differences between all grades of CIN could be found. The confusion matrix, comparing between pathologist's grading and predicted group by fractal methods showed a match of 87.1%. Multifractal spectra were able to differentiate between normal epithelium and low grade as well as high grade neoplasia.

Conclusion: Fractal dimension can be considered to be an objective parameter to grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia.

MeSH terms

  • Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia / diagnosis*
  • Cervix Uteri / pathology*
  • Female
  • Fractals*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis*

Grant support

The authors have no support or funding to report.