Feature-based Analysis of Mouse Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia in Histological Tissue Sections

J Pathol Inform. 2016 Jan 29;7:5. doi: 10.4103/2153-3539.175378. eCollection 2016.


This paper describes work presented at the Nordic Symposium on Digital Pathology 2015, in Linköping, Sweden. Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) represents premalignant tissue involving epithelial growth confined in the lumen of prostatic acini. In the attempts to understand oncogenesis in the human prostate, early neoplastic changes can be modeled in the mouse with genetic manipulation of certain tumor suppressor genes or oncogenes. As with many early pathological changes, the PIN lesions in the mouse prostate are macroscopically small, but microscopically spanning areas often larger than single high magnification focus fields in microscopy. This poses a challenge to utilize full potential of the data acquired in histological specimens. We use whole prostates fixed in molecular fixative PAXgene™, embedded in paraffin, sectioned through and stained with H&E. To visualize and analyze the microscopic information spanning whole mouse PIN (mPIN) lesions, we utilize automated whole slide scanning and stacked sections through the tissue. The region of interests is masked, and the masked areas are processed using a cascade of automated image analysis steps. The images are normalized in color space, after which exclusion of secretion areas and feature extraction is performed. Machine learning is utilized to build a model of early PIN lesions for determining the probability for histological changes based on the calculated features. We performed a feature-based analysis to mPIN lesions. First, a quantitative representation of over 100 features was built, including several features representing pathological changes in PIN, especially describing the spatial growth pattern of lesions in the prostate tissue. Furthermore, we built a classification model, which is able to align PIN lesions corresponding to grading by visual inspection to more advanced and mild lesions. The classifier allowed both determining the probability of early histological changes for uncategorized tissue samples and interpretation of the model parameters. Here, we develop quantitative image analysis pipeline to describe morphological changes in histological images. Even subtle changes in mPIN lesion characteristics can be described with feature analysis and machine learning. Constructing and using multidimensional feature data to represent histological changes enables richer analysis and interpretation of early pathological lesions.

Keywords: Histopathological image analysis; machine learning; prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia.