Artif Intell Med - Leucocyte classification for leukaemia detection using image processing techniques.


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TRODUCTION: The counting and classification of blood cells allow for the evaluation and diagnosis of a vast number of diseases. The analysis of white blood cells (WBCs) allows for the detection of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), a blood cancer that can be fatal if left untreated. Currently, the morphological analysis of blood cells is performed manually by skilled operators. However, this method has numerous drawbacks, such as slow analysis, non-standard accuracy, and dependences on the operator's skill. Few examples of automated systems that can analyse and classify blood cells have been reported in the literature, and most of these systems are only partially developed. This paper presents a complete and fully automated method for WBC identification and classification using microscopic images.METHODS: In contrast to other approaches that identify the nuclei first, which are more prominent than other components, the proposed approach isolates the whole leucocyte and then separates the nucleus and cytoplasm. This approach is necessary to analyse each cell component in detail. From each cell component, different features, such as shape, colour and texture, are extracted using a new approach for background pixel removal. This feature set was used to train different classification models in order to determine which one is most suitable for the detection of leukaemia.RESULTS: Using our method, 245 of 267 total leucocytes were properly identified (92% accuracy) from 33 images taken with the same camera and under the same lighting conditions. Performing this evaluation using different classification models allowed us to establish that the support vector machine with a Gaussian radial basis kernel is the most suitable model for the identification of ALL, with an accuracy of 93% and a sensitivity of 98%. Furthermore, we evaluated the goodness of our new feature set, which displayed better performance with each evaluated classification model.CONCLUSIONS: The proposed method permits the analysis of blood cells automatically via image processing techniques, and it represents a medical tool to avoid the numerous drawbacks associated with manual observation. This process could also be used for counting, as it provides excellent performance and allows for early diagnostic suspicion, which can then be confirmed by a haematologist through specialised techniques.

Resumo Limpo

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