Automatic analysis of nuclear features reveals a non-tumoral predictor of tumor grade in bladder cancer

Ibrahim Fahoum*, Shlomo Tsuriel, Daniel Rattner, Ariel Greenberg, Asia Zubkov, Rabab Naamneh, Orli Greenberg, Valentina Zemser-Werner, Gilad Gitstein, Rami Hagege, Dov Hershkovitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background & objectives: Tumor grade determines prognosis in urothelial carcinoma. The classification of low and high grade is based on nuclear morphological features that include nuclear size, hyperchromasia and pleomorphism. These features are subjectively assessed by the pathologists and are not numerically measured, which leads to high rates of interobserver variability. The purpose of this study is to assess the value of a computer-based image analysis tool for identifying predictors of tumor grade in bladder cancer. Methods: Four hundred images of urothelial tumors were graded by five pathologists and two expert genitourinary pathologists using a scale of 1 (lowest grade) to 5 (highest grade). A computer algorithm was used to automatically segment the nuclei and to provide morphometric parameters for each nucleus, which were used to establish the grading algorithm. Grading algorithm was compared to pathologists’ agreement. Results: Comparison of the grading scores of the five pathologists with the expert genitourinary pathologists score showed agreement rates between 88.5% and 97.5%.The agreement rate between the two expert genitourinary pathologists was 99.5%. The quantified algorithm based conventional parameters that determine the grade (nuclear size, pleomorphism and hyperchromasia) showed > 85% agreement with the expert genitourinary pathologists. Surprisingly, the parameter that was most associated with tumor grade was the 10th percentile of the nuclear area, and high grade was associated with lower 10th percentile nuclei, caused by the presence of more inflammatory cells in the high-grade tumors. Conclusion: Quantitative nuclear features could be applied to determine urothelial carcinoma grade and explore new biologically explainable parameters with better correlation to grade than those currently used.

Original languageEnglish
Article number75
JournalDiagnostic Pathology
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2024

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