Automatic Quantification of the Extracellular Matrix Degradation Produced by Tumor Cells

  • Nadia BrancatiEmail author
  • Giuseppe De Pietro
  • Maria Frucci
  • Chiara Amoruso
  • Daniela Corda
  • Alessia Varone
Conference paper
Part of the Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series (SIST, volume 60)


Understanding the mechanisms of invasion of cancer cells into surrounding tissues is of primary importance for limiting tumor progression. The degradation of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and the consequent invasion of the surrounding tissue by tumor cells represent the first stage in the development and dissemination of metastasis. The quantification of such a degradation is thus an important parameter to evaluate the metastatic potential of tumor cells. Assessment of degradation is usually performed in in vitro assays, in which tumor cells are cultured on a gelatin (or other matrix)-coated dishes and the degraded gelatin areas under the tumor cells are visualized and quantified by fluorescent labelling. In this paper, we present an automatic method to quantify the ECM degradation through the feature analysis of the digital images, obtained from the in vitro assays and showing the tumor cells and the degraded gelatin areas. Differently from the existing methods of image analysis supporting biologists, our method does not require any interaction with the user providing quickly corrected and unbiased measures. Comparative results with a method frequently used by biologists, has been performed.


Extracellular matrix degradation Binarization Feature extraction 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nadia Brancati
    • 1
    Email author
  • Giuseppe De Pietro
    • 1
  • Maria Frucci
    • 1
  • Chiara Amoruso
    • 2
  • Daniela Corda
    • 2
  • Alessia Varone
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for High Performance Computing and Networking, National Research Council of Italy (ICAR-CNR)NaplesItaly
  2. 2.Institute of Protein Biochemistry, National Research Council of Italy (IBP-CNR)NaplesItaly

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