Microvessel prediction in H&E Stained Pathology Images using fully convolutional neural networks

Faliu Yi, Lin Yang, Shidan Wang, Lei Guo, Chenglong Huang, Yang Xie, Guanghua Xiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: Pathological angiogenesis has been identified in many malignancies as a potential prognostic factor and target for therapy. In most cases, angiogenic analysis is based on the measurement of microvessel density (MVD) detected by immunostaining of CD31 or CD34. However, most retrievable public data is generally composed of Hematoxylin and Eosin (H&E)-stained pathology images, for which is difficult to get the corresponding immunohistochemistry images. The role of microvessels in H&E stained images has not been widely studied due to their complexity and heterogeneity. Furthermore, identifying microvessels manually for study is a labor-intensive task for pathologists, with high inter- and intra-observer variation. Therefore, it is important to develop automated microvessel-detection algorithms in H&E stained pathology images for clinical association analysis. Results: In this paper, we propose a microvessel prediction method using fully convolutional neural networks. The feasibility of our proposed algorithm is demonstrated through experimental results on H&E stained images. Furthermore, the identified microvessel features were significantly associated with the patient clinical outcomes. Conclusions: This is the first study to develop an algorithm for automated microvessel detection in H&E stained pathology images.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number64
JournalBMC Bioinformatics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 27 2018


  • Angiogenesis
  • Fully convolutional neural networks
  • H&E images
  • Microvessel
  • Pathology image

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics


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