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Accurate digital image analysis of abnormal microscopic structures relies on high quality images and on minimizing the rates of false positive (FP) and negative objects in images. Cytogenetic biodosimetry detects dicentric chromosomes (DCs) that arise from exposure to ionizing radiation, and determines radiation dose received based on DC frequency. Improvements in automated DC recognition increase the accuracy of dose estimates by reclassifying FP DCs as monocentric chromosomes or chromosome fragments. We also present image segmentation methods to rank high quality digital metaphase images and eliminate suboptimal metaphase cells. A set of chromosome morphology segmentation methods selectively filtered out FP DCs arising primarily from sister chromatid separation, chromosome fragmentation, and cellular debris. This reduced FPs by an average of 55% and was highly specific to these abnormal structures (≥97.7%) in three samples. Additional filters selectively removed images with incomplete, highly overlapped, or missing metaphase cells, or with poor overall chromosome morphologies that increased FP rates. Image selection is optimized and FP DCs are minimized by combining multiple feature based segmentation filters and a novel image sorting procedure based on the known distribution of chromosome lengths. Applying the same image segmentation filtering procedures to both calibration and test samples reduced the average dose estimation error from 0.4 Gy to <0.2 Gy, obviating the need to first manually review these images. This reliable and scalable solution enables batch processing for multiple samples of unknown dose, and meets current requirements for triage radiation biodosimetry of high quality metaphase cell preparations.
Citation of this paper:
Liu J, Li Y, Wilkins R et al. Accurate cytogenetic biodosimetry through automated dicentric chromosome curation and metaphase cell selection [version 1; referees: awaiting peer review]. F1000Research 2017, 6:1396 (doi: 10.12688/f1000research.12226.1)