Color-based tumor tissue segmentation for the automated estimation of oral cancer parameters

Yung Nien Sun, Yi Ying Wang, Shao Chien Chang, Li Wha Wu, Sen Tien Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


This article presents an automatic color-based feature extraction system for parameter estimation of oral cancer from optical microscopic images. The system first reduces image-to-image variations by means of color normalization. We then construct a database which consists of typical cancer images. The color parameters extracted from this database are then used in automated online sampling from oral cancer images. Principal component analysis is subsequently used to divide the color features into four tissue types. Each pixel in the cancer image is then classified into the corresponding tissue types based on the Mahalanobis distance. The aforementioned procedures are all fully automated; in particular, the automated sampling step greatly reduces the need for intensive labor in manual sampling and training. Experiments reveal high levels of consistency among the results achieved using the manual, semiautomatic, and fully automatic methods. Parameter comparisons between the four cancer stages are conducted, and only the mean parameters between early and late cancer stages are statistically different. In summary, the proposed system provides a useful and convenient tool for automatic segmentation and evaluation for stained biopsy samples of oral cancer. This tool can also be modified and applied to other tissue images with similar staining conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-13
Number of pages9
JournalMicroscopy Research and Technique
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jan

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Instrumentation
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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