Quantification of the global and local complexity of the epithelial-connective tissue interface of normal, dysplastic and neoplastic oral mucosae using digital imaging

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Colleges, School and Institutes


This study aimed at quantifying the complexity of the epithelial-connective tissue interface (ECTI) in human normal mucosa, premalignant, and malignant lesions using fractal geometry. Two approaches were used to describe the complexity of 377 oral mucosa ECTI profiles. The box counting method was used to estimate their global fractal dimension, while local fractal dimensions were estimated using the mass radius relation at various local scales. The ECTI complexity significantly increased from normal through premalignant to malignant profiles in both global and local (over 283 microm) scales. Normal mucosa samples from different sites of the oral cavity also had different degrees of global complexity. Fractal geometry is a useful morphological marker of tissue complexity changes taking place during epithelial malignancy and premalignancy, and we propose it as a quantitative marker of epithelial complexity.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-482
Number of pages8
JournalPathology, Research and Practice
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003