The objective of this study was to study the textural and color changes occurring in the epithelial gland tissue with advancing colorectal cancer (CRC), utilizing immunohistochemical stain for AIB1 expression biopsy material.Material and Methods:
Clinical material comprised biopsy specimens of 67 patients with a diagnosis of CRC. Two experienced pathologists used H&E-stained material for grading CRC lesions and immunohistochemical (IHC) stain for AIB1 expression. Twenty six patients were diagnosed with grade I, 28 with grade II, and 13 with grade III CRC. Guided by pathologists, we selected the regions of interest from AIB1-digitized images of each patient, encompassing the epithelial gland, and we computed 69 features, quantifying textural and color properties of the AIB1-stained lesions. We evaluated the statistical differences between grades by means of the Wilcoxon statistical test for each feature, and we assessed changes in feature values with advancing tumor grade by means of the Point Biserial Correlation.Results:
Statistical analysis revealed 14 single features, quantifying textural and color properties of the epithelial gland, which sustained statistically significant differences between LG-CRC and HG-CRC cases. These features were drawn from the gray-level image histogram, the cooccurrence matrix, the run length matrix, the discrete wavelet transform, the Tamura method, and the L*a*b color transform.Conclusions:
A systematic statistical analysis of AIB1-stained biopsy material showed that high-grade CRC lesions contain higher intensity levels, appear coarser, are more homogeneous with smooth variation across the image, have lower contrast that is slowly varying across the image, have lower AIB1 staining, and have lower edges. A combination of textural and color attributes, evaluating image gray-tone distribution, textural roughness, inhomogeneity, AIB1 staining, and image coarseness should be considered in evaluating AIB1-stained CRC lesions.