The current practice of surgical pathology relies on external contrast agents to reveal tissue architecture, which is then qualitatively examined by a trained pathologist. The diagnosis is based on the comparison with standardized empirical, qualitative assessments of limited objectivity. We propose an approach to pathology based on interferometric imaging of “unstained” biopsies, which provides unique capabilities for quantitative diagnosis and automation. We developed a label-free tissue scanner based on “quantitative phase imaging,” which maps out optical path length at each point in the field of view and, thus, yields images that are sensitive to the “nanoscale” tissue architecture. Unlike analysis of stained tissue, which is qualitative in nature and affected by color balance, staining strength and imaging conditions, optical path length measurements are intrinsically quantitative, i.e., images can be compared across different instruments and clinical sites. These critical features allow us to automate the diagnosis process. We paired our interferometric optical system with highly parallelized, dedicated software algorithms for data acquisition, allowing us to image at a throughput comparable to that of commercial tissue scanners while maintaining the nanoscale sensitivity to morphology. Based on the measured phase information, we implemented software tools for autofocusing during imaging, as well as image archiving and data access. To illustrate the potential of our technology for large volume pathology screening, we established an “intrinsic marker” for colorectal disease that detects tissue with dysplasia or colorectal cancer and flags specific areas for further examination, potentially improving the efficiency of existing pathology workflows.
We present an approach for automatic diagnosis of tissue biopsies. Our methodology consists of a quantitative phase imaging tissue scanner and machine learning algorithms to process these data. We illustrate the performance by automatic Gleason grading of prostate specimens. The imaging system operates on the principle of interferometry and, as a result, reports on the nanoscale architecture of the unlabeled specimen. We use these data to train a random forest classifier to learn textural behaviors of prostate samples and classify each pixel in the image into different classes. Automatic diagnosis results were computed from the segmented regions. By combining morphological features with quantitative information from the glands and stroma, logistic regression was used to discriminate regions with Gleason grade 3 versus grade 4 cancer in prostatectomy tissue. The overall accuracy of this classification derived from a receiver operating curve was 82%, which is in the range of human error when interobserver variability is considered. We anticipate that our approach will provide a clinically objective and quantitative metric for Gleason grading, allowing us to corroborate results across instruments and laboratories and feed the computer algorithms for improved accuracy.
In this paper, we present an updated automatic diagnostic procedure for prostate cancer using quantitative phase imaging (QPI). In a recent report , we demonstrated the use of Random Forest for image segmentation on prostate cores imaged using QPI. Based on these label maps, we developed an algorithm to discriminate between regions with Gleason grade 3 and 4 prostate cancer in prostatectomy tissue. The Area-Under-Curve (AUC) of 0.79 for the Receiver Operating Curve (ROC) can be obtained for Gleason grade 4 detection in a binary classification between Grade 3 and Grade 4. Our dataset includes 280 benign cases and 141 malignant cases. We show that textural features in phase maps have strong diagnostic values since they can be used in combination with the label map to detect presence or absence of basal cells, which is a strong indicator for prostate carcinoma. A support vector machine (SVM) classifier trained on this new feature vector can classify cancer/non-cancer with an error rate of 0.23 and an AUC value of 0.83.
Classification of arthropods is performed by characterization of fine features such as setae and cuticles. An unstained whole arthropod specimen mounted on a slide can be preserved for many decades, but is difficult to study since current methods require sample manipulation or tedious image processing. Spatial light interference microscopy (SLIM) is a quantitative phase imaging (QPI) technique that is an add-on module to a commercial phase contrast microscope. We use SLIM to image a whole organism springtail Ceratophysella denticulata mounted on a slide. This is the first time, to our knowledge, that an entire organism has been imaged using QPI. We also demonstrate the ability of SLIM to image fine structures in addition to providing quantitative data that cannot be obtained by traditional bright field microscopy.
Spatiotemporal patterns of intracellular transport are very difficult to quantify and, consequently, continue to be insufficiently understood. While it is well documented that mass trafficking inside living cells consists of both random and deterministic motions, quantitative data over broad spatiotemporal scales are lacking. We studied the intracellular transport in live cells using spatial light interference microscopy, a high spatiotemporal resolution quantitative phase imaging tool. The results indicate that in the cytoplasm, the intracellular transport is mainly active (directed, deterministic), while inside the nucleus it is both active and passive (diffusive, random). Furthermore, we studied the behavior of the two-dimensional mass density over 30 h in HeLa cells and focused on the active component. We determined the standard deviation of the velocity distribution at the point of cell division for each cell and compared the standard deviation velocity inside the cytoplasm and the nucleus. We found that the velocity distribution in the cytoplasm is consistently broader than in the nucleus, suggesting mechanisms for faster transport in the cytosol versus the nucleus. Future studies will focus on improving phase measurements by applying a fluorescent tag to understand how particular proteins are transported inside the cell.
We used a new quantitative high spatiotemporal resolution phase imaging tool to explore the nuclear structure and dynamics of individual cells. We used a novel analysis tool to quantify the diffusion outside and inside the nucleus of live cells. We also obtained information about the nuclear spatio temporal mass density in metastatic cells. The results indicate that in the cytoplasm, the intracellular transport is mainly active (direct, deterministic), while inside the nucleus it is both active and passive (diffusive, random). We calculated the standard deviation of velocities in active transport and the diffusion coefficient for passive transport.
We report, for the first time, the use of Quantitative Phase Imaging (QPI) images to perform automatic prostate cancer diagnosis. A machine learning algorithm is implemented to learn textural behaviors of prostate samples imaged under QPI and produce labeled maps of different regions for testing biopsies (e.g. gland, stroma, lumen etc.). From these maps, morphological and textural features are calculated to predict outcomes of the testing samples. Current performance is reported on a dataset of more than 300 cores of various diagnosis results.
1 in 7 men receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer in their lifetime. The aggressiveness of the treatment plan adopted by the patient is strongly influenced by Gleason grade. Gleason grade is determined by the pathologist based on the level of glandular formation and complexity seen in the patient’s biopsy. However, studies have shown that the disagreement rate between pathologists on Gleason grades 3 and 4 is high and this affects treatment options. We used quantitative phase imaging to develop an objective method for Gleason grading. Using the glandular solidity, which is the ratio of the area of the gland to a convex hull fit around it, and anisotropy of light scattered from the stroma immediately adjoining the gland, we were able to quantitatively separate Gleason grades 3 and 4 with 81% accuracy in 43 cases marked as difficult by pathologists.