Value of computer-assisted quantitative nuclear grading in differentiation of normal urothelial cells from low and high grade transitional cell carcinoma

Eva M. Wojcik, M. Craig Miller, Gerard J. O'Dowd, Robert W. Veltri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the ability of computer-assisted quantitative nuclear grading (QNG) using a microspectrophotometer and morphometry software to differentiate Feulgen-stained nuclei captured from normal urothelium, low grade transitional cell carcinoma (LG-TCC) and high grade transitional cell carcinoma (HG-TCC) cytology specimens. STUDY DESIGN: FeuLgen-stained nuclei from a series of normal volunteers (urologic disease-free history) and from biopsy-confirmed cases of LG-TCC and HG-TCC were evaluated using a CAS-200 image analysis system. Thirty-eight nuclear morphometric descriptors (NMDs) were measured for each nucleus using a software conversion system. Backwards stepwise logistic regression analysis was applied to assess which of the NMDs contributed to QNG statistical models that could differentiate between nuclei from normals vs. LG-TCC, normals vs. HG-TCC, and LG-TCC vs. HG-TCC. Receiver operating characteristic curves and areas under the curve (AUC), as well as cell classification accuracy, were used to assess these differences. RESULTS: Statistically significant differences (P < .0001) were observed between all three categories. In the LG-TCC vs. normals, the QNG solution model required 16/38 features, with an AUC = 93%, a sensitivity = 85%, specificity = 86%, positive predictive value (PPV) = 87% and negative predictive value (NPV)= 84%. The QNG solution model for normals vs. HG-TCC required 12/38 nuclear features yielding an AUC = 99%, sensitivity = 99%, specificity = 98%, PPV = 98% and NPV = 99%. The QNG solution model for LG-TCC vs. HG-TCC required 17/38 nuclear features, with an AUC = 99%, sensitivity = 96%, specificity = 97%, PPV = 97% and NPV= 96%. CONCLUSION: Computer-assisted QNG cell classifiers based upon the measurement of 38 nuclear features, including size, shape and chromatin organization, are capable of differentiating normal urothelial nuclei from LG-TCC and HG-TCC nuclei as well as LG-TCC from HG- TCC nuclei. The QNG cell classifier has shown conclusively that there are morphometric differences between normal urothelial and LG-TCC nuclei that may not be apparent to the naked eye and that it may be useful in helping the pathologist determine the presence or absence of LG-TCC in bladder cytology specimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-76
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical and Quantitative Cytology and Histology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 13 1998


  • Bladder neoplasms
  • Carcinoma, transitional cell
  • Image analysis, computer-assisted
  • Morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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