In recent years, borderline epithelial tumors of the ovary have been investigated by morphometric techniques to allow for a differential diagnosis from benign and malignant neoplasms. In order to enhance this discriminant power, we have applied a new analytical procedure to the evaluation of the nuclear shape in epithelial ovarian tumors. Sixty nuclei of benign ovarian serous neoplasms, 60 nuclei of serous borderline tumors and 60 nuclei of serous carcinomas (18 cases in all) were examined using the software system SAM (Shape Analytical Morphometry). The morphometric procedure consisted of three different phases: (i) extraction of nuclear fundamental curve: this is a function curve giving the smoothing of the original contour by two parametric equations (separately for x and y values as dependent variables); (ii) evaluation of nuclear contour irregularities by Fourier analysis; (iii) evaluation of nuclear shape asymmetry by SAE (Shape Asymmetry Evaluator): this is the ratio between the length of a segment of a parabola interpolating the original curve points and a straight line joining its extremities for a 180° barycentric rotation according 10° steps. All the obtained independent parameters were submitted to statistical analysis. Nuclei of borderline tumors showed dimensional parameters which were intermediate between those of benign and malignant tumors. Both the asymmetry and the irregularities of nuclear contour were greatest in carcinomas.
- analytical morphometry
- ovarian serous tumors
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