Leukemia, a blood cancer originating in the bone marrow, presents as a heterogeneous disease with highly variable survival rates. Leukemia is classified into major types based on the rate of cancerous cell growth and cell lineage: chronic or acute and myeloid or lymphoid leukemia. Histological and cytological analysis of the peripheral blood and the bone marrow can classify these major leukemia categories. However, histological analyses of patient biopsies and cytological microscopic assessment of blood and bone marrow smears are insufficient to diagnose leukemia subtypes and to direct therapy. Hence, more expensive and time-consuming diagnostic tools routinely complement histological-cytological analysis during a patient’s diagnosis. To extract more accurate and detailed information from patient tissue samples, digital pathology is emerging as a powerful tool to enhance biopsy- and smear-based decisions. Furthermore, digital pathology methods integrated with advances in machine learning enable new diagnostic features from leukemia patients’ histological and cytological slides and optimize patient classification, thus providing a cheaper, more robust, and faster diagnostic tool than current standards. This review summarizes emerging approaches to automatically diagnose leukemia from morphological and cytological-histological analyses.
Part of the book: Hematology