Automatic recognition of atypical lymphoid cells from peripheral blood by digital image analysis

Am J Clin Pathol. 2015 Feb;143(2):168-76; quiz 305. doi: 10.1309/AJCP78IFSTOGZZJN.


Objectives: The objective was the development of a method for the automatic recognition of different types of atypical lymphoid cells.

Methods: In the method development, a training set (TS) of 1,500 lymphoid cell images from peripheral blood was used. To segment the images, we used clustering of color components and watershed transformation. In total, 113 features were extracted for lymphocyte recognition by linear discriminant analysis (LDA) with a 10-fold cross-validation over the TS. Then, a new validation set (VS) of 150 images was used, performing two steps: (1) tuning the LDA classifier using the TS and (2) classifying the VS in the different lymphoid cell types.

Results: The segmentation algorithm was very effective in separating the cytoplasm, nucleus, and peripheral zone around the cell. From them, descriptive features were extracted and used to recognize the different lymphoid cells. The accuracy for the classification in the TS was 98.07%. The precision, sensitivity, and specificity values were above 99.7%, 97.5%, and 98.6%, respectively. The accuracy of the classification in the VS was 85.33%.

Conclusions: The method reaches a high precision in the recognition of five different types of lymphoid cells and could allow for the design of a diagnosis support tool in the future.

Keywords: Atypical lymphoid cells; Automatic cell classification; Digital image processing; Hematologic cytology; Morphologic analysis; Peripheral blood.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Cytodiagnosis / methods*
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Hematology / methods
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Lymphocytes / pathology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Automated / methods*