Deep learning for cell image segmentation and ranking

Flávio H.D. Araújo, Romuere R.V. Silva, Daniela M. Ushizima, Mariana T. Rezende, Cláudia M. Carneiro, Andrea G. Campos Bianchi, Fátima N.S. Medeiros

Computerized Medical Imaging and Graphics
February 11, 2019

Ninety years after its invention, the Pap test continues to be the most used method for the early identification of cervical precancerous lesions. In this test, the cytopathologists look for microscopic abnormalities in and around the cells, which is a time-consuming and prone to human error task. This paper introduces computational tools for cytological analysis that incorporate cell segmentation deep learning techniques. These techniques are capable of processing both free-lying and clumps of abnormal cells with a high overlapping rate from digitized images of conventional Pap smears. Our methodology employs a preprocessing step that discards images with a low probability of containing abnormal cells without prior segmentation and, therefore, performs faster when compared with the existing methods. Also, it ranks outputs based on the likelihood of the images to contain abnormal cells. We evaluate our methodology on an image database of conventional Pap smears from real scenarios, with 108 fields-of-view containing at least one abnormal cell and 86 containing only normal cells, corresponding to millions of cells. Our results show that the proposed approach achieves accurate results (MAP = 0.936), runs faster than existing methods, and it is robust to the presence of white blood cells, and other contaminants.

Featured Fellows

Daniela Ushizima

Computational Research Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab