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A bag of visual words approach for centromere and cytoplasmic staining pattern classification on HEp-2 images

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3 Author(s)
Giulio Iannello ; Integrated Research Centre, Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, Rome, Italy ; Leonardo Onofri ; Paolo Soda

Antinuclear autoantibodies (ANAs) are important markers to diagnose autoimmune diseases, very serious and also invalidating illnesses. The benchmark procedure for ANAs diagnosis is the indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) assay performed on the HEp-2 substrate. Medical doctors first determine the fluorescence intensity exhibited by HEp-2 cells, and then report the staining pattern for positive wells only. With reference to staining pattern recognition, in the literature we found works recognizing five main patterns characterized by well-defined cell edges. These approaches are based on cell segmentation, a task that should be harder than the classification itself. We present here a method extending the panel of detectable HEp-2 staining patterns, introducing the centromere and cytoplasmic patterns, which do not show well-defined cell edges, and where a segmentation-based classification may fail. We apply a local approach which extracts SIFT descriptors and then classifies an image through the bag of visual words approach. This permits to represent complex image contents without applying the segmentation procedure. We test our approach on a dataset of HEp-2 images with large variability in both fluorescence intensity and staining patterns. Despite the large skew of the a-priori class distribution, our system correctly recognizes the 98.3% of samples, with a F-measure equal to 92.3%, 95.2% and 99.0%, for each class.

Published in:

Computer-Based Medical Systems (CBMS), 2012 25th International Symposium on

Date of Conference:

20-22 June 2012