Neural net-based identification of cells expressing the p300 tumor-related antigen using fluorescence image analysis

Robert E. Hurst, Rebecca Bass Bonner, Kaveh Ashenayi, Robert W. Veltri, George P. Hemstreet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We report on preliminary investigations of the use of an image analysis system to perform preliminary algorithmic classification of images of fluorochrome-labeled cells followed by capture of gray-level images of potentially abnormal cells for analysis by a neural network. Cells were labeled with an antibody against a bladder cancer tumor-associated antigen, and the neural net was used to distinguish true-positive cells from negative cells, false-positive cells (autofluorescent or nonspecific labeling), and cell-sized artifacts. Gray-level cell images were digitized and processed for analysis by a feed-forward neural network using back-propagation. The network was trained and tested with two independent image sets. Various network configurations and activation functions were investigated, including a sinusoidal activation function. At high power, the network agreed completely with the human observer's classification. At low power, a strong clustering of cells classified by the network with expert classification was seen, while the neural network showed roughly 75% concordance with the human observer. In addition, a set of four features extracted from raw cell images were investigated. The features were: shape factor, texture, area, and average pixel intensity. A network trained with these features performed better than one operating with gray-level images. We conclude that using neural networks to recognize and classify images captured by an image analysis microscope is feasible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-42
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • M344
  • bladder cancer
  • fluorescence
  • image analysis
  • neural network
  • quantitative cytology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Biophysics
  • Hematology
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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