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Osteolytica: An automated image analysis software package that rapidly measures cancer-induced osteolytic lesions in in vivo models with greater reproducibility compared to other commonly used methods

By H.R. Evans, T. Karmakharm, M.A. Lawson, R.E. Walker, W. Harris, C. Fellows, I.D. Huggins, P. Richmond and A.D. Chantry


AbstractMethods currently used to analyse osteolytic lesions caused by malignancies such as multiple myeloma and metastatic breast cancer vary from basic 2-D X-ray analysis to 2-D images of micro-CT datasets analysed with non-specialised image software such as ImageJ. However, these methods have significant limitations. They do not capture 3-D data, they are time-consuming and they often suffer from inter-user variability. We therefore sought to develop a rapid and reproducible method to analyse 3-D osteolytic lesions in mice with cancer-induced bone disease. To this end, we have developed Osteolytica, an image analysis software method featuring an easy to use, step-by-step interface to measure lytic bone lesions. Osteolytica utilises novel graphics card acceleration (parallel computing) and 3-D rendering to provide rapid reconstruction and analysis of osteolytic lesions. To evaluate the use of Osteolytica we analysed tibial micro-CT datasets from murine models of cancer-induced bone disease and compared the results to those obtained using a standard ImageJ analysis method. Firstly, to assess inter-user variability we deployed four independent researchers to analyse tibial datasets from the U266-NSG murine model of myeloma. Using ImageJ, inter-user variability between the bones was substantial (±19.6%), in contrast to using Osteolytica, which demonstrated minimal variability (±0.5%). Secondly, tibial datasets from U266-bearing NSG mice or BALB/c mice injected with the metastatic breast cancer cell line 4T1 were compared to tibial datasets from aged and sex-matched non-tumour control mice. Analyses by both Osteolytica and ImageJ showed significant increases in bone lesion area in tumour-bearing mice compared to control mice. These results confirm that Osteolytica performs as well as the current 2-D ImageJ osteolytic lesion analysis method. However, Osteolytica is advantageous in that it analyses over the entirety of the bone volume (as opposed to selected 2-D images), it is a more rapid method and it has less user variability

Publisher: The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Year: 2016
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.bone.2015.10.004
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