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In Journal of pathology informatics ; h5-index 23.0

Molecular subtypes of medulloblastoma [Sonic Hedgehog (SHH), Wingless/INT (WNT), Group 3, and Group 4] are defined by common patterns of gene expression. These differential gene expression patterns appear to result in different histomorphology and prognosis. Quantitative histomorphometry is a well-known method of computer-aided pathology image analysis. The hypotheses we sought to examine in this preliminary proof of concept study were whether computer extracted nuclear morphological features of medulloblastomas from digitized tissue slide images could independently: (1) distinguish between molecularly determined subgroups and (2) identify patterns within these subgroups that correspond with clinical outcome. Our dataset was composed of 46 medulloblastoma patients: 16 SHH (5 dead, 11 survived), 3 WNT (0 dead, 3 survived), 12 Group 3 (4 dead, 8 survived), and 15 were Group 4 (5 dead, 10 survived). A watershed-based thresholding scheme was used to automatically identify individual nuclei within digitized whole slide hematoxylin and eosin tissue images. Quantitative histomorphometric features corresponding to the texture (variation in pixel intensity), shape (variations in size, roundness), and architectural rearrangement (distances between, and number of connected neighbors) of nuclei were subsequently extracted. These features were ranked using feature selection schemes and these top-ranked features were then used to train machine-learning classifiers via threefold cross-validation to separate patients based on: (1) molecular subtype and (2) disease-specific outcomes within the individual molecular subtype groups. SHH and WNT tumors were separated from Groups 3 and 4 tumors with a maximum area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of 0.7, survival within Group 3 tumors was predicted with an AUC of 0.92, and Group 3 and 4 patients were separated into high- and low-risk groups with p = 0.002. Model prediction was quantitatively compared with age, stage, and histological subtype using univariate and multivariate Cox hazard ratio models. Age was the most statistically significant variable for predicting survival in Group 3 and 4 tumors, but model predictions had the highest hazard ratio value. Quantitative nuclear histomorphometry can be used to study medulloblastoma genetic expression phenotypes as it may distinguish meaningful features of disease pathology.

Whitney Jon, Dollinger Liisa, Tamrazi Benita, Hawes Debra, Couce Marta, Marcheque Julia, Judkins Alexander, Margol Ashley, Madabhushi Anant