Cancer multicellular spheroids: Volume assessment from a single 2D projection

Filippo Piccinini, Anna Tesei, Chiara Arienti, Alessandro Bevilacqua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Volume is one of the most important features for the characterization of a tumour on a macroscopic scale. It is often used to assess the effectiveness of care treatments, thus making its correct evaluation a crucial issue for patient care. Similarly, volume is a key feature on a microscopic scale. Multicellular cancer spheroids are 3D tumour models widely employed in pre-clinical studies to test the effects of drugs and radiotherapy treatments. Very few methods have been proposed to estimate the tumour volume arising from a 2D projection of multicellular spheroids, and even fewer have been designed to provide a 3D reconstruction of the tumour shape. In this work, we propose Reconstruction and Visualization from a Single Projection (ReViSP), an automatic method conceived to reconstruct the 3D surface and estimate the volume of single cancer multicellular spheroids, or even of spheroid cultures. As the input parameter ReViSP requires only one 2D projection, which could be a widefield microscope image. We assessed the effectiveness of our method by comparing it with other approaches. To this purpose, we used a new strategy that allowed us to achieve accurate volume measurements based on the analysis of home-made 3D objects, built by mimicking the spheroid morphology. The results confirmed the effectiveness of our method for both 3D reconstruction and volume assessment. ReViSP software is distributed as an open source tool.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-106
Number of pages12
JournalComputer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Image processing
  • Multi-cellular tumour aggregates
  • Pre-clinical oncology
  • Software application
  • Volume rendering
  • Widefield microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Software
  • Health Informatics
  • Medicine(all)


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