Fractal analysis is widely applied to investigate the vascular system in physiological as well as pathological states. We propose and examine a computer-aided and fractal-based image analysis technique to quantify the microvascularity in histological specimens of WHO grade II and III gliomas. A computer-aided and fractal-based analysis was used to describe the microvessels and to quantify their geometrical complexity in histological specimens collected from 17 patients. The statistical analysis showed that the fractal-based indexes are the most discriminant parameters to describe the microvessels. The computer-aided quantitative analysis also showed that grade III gliomas are generally more vascularized than grade II gliomas. The fractal parameters are reliable quantitative indicators of the neoplastic microvasculature, making them potential surrogate biomarkers. The qualitative evaluation currently performed by the neuropathologist can be combined with the computer-assisted quantitative analysis of the microvascularity to improve the diagnosis and optimize the treatment of patients with brain cancer.
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