Automated classification of optical coherence tomography images for the diagnosis of oral malignancy in the hamster cheek pouch.
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Most studies evaluating the potential of optical coherence tomography (OCT) for the diagnosis of oral cancer are based on visual assessment of OCT B-scans by trained experts. Human interpretation of the large pool of data acquired by modern high-speed OCT systems, however, can be cumbersome and extremely time consuming. Development of image analysis methods for automated and quantitative OCT image analysis could therefore facilitate the evaluation of such a large volume of data. We report automated algorithms for quantifying structural features that are associated with the malignant transformation of the oral epithelium based on image processing of OCT data. The features extracted from the OCT images were used to design a statistical classification model to perform the automated tissue diagnosis. The sensitivity and specificity of distinguishing malignant lesions from benign lesions were found to be 90.2% and 76.3%, respectively. The results of the study demonstrate the feasibility of using quantitative image analysis algorithms for extracting morphological features from OCT images to perform the automated diagnosis of oral malignancies in a hamster cheek pouch model.