CDNet: Centripetal Direction Network for Nuclear Instance Segmentation
Nuclear instance segmentation is a challenging task due to a large number of touching and overlapping nuclei in pathological images. Existing methods cannot effectively recognize the accurate boundary owing to neglecting the relationship between pixels (e.g., direction information). In this paper, we propose a novel Centripetal Direction Network (CDNet) for nuclear instance segmentation. Specifically, we define the centripetal direction feature as a class of adjacent directions pointing to the nuclear center to represent the spatial relationship between pixels within the nucleus. These direction features are then used to construct a direction difference map to represent the similarity within instances and the differences between instances. Finally, we propose a direction-guided refinement module, which acts as a plug-and-play module to effectively integrate auxiliary tasks and aggregate the features of different branches. Experiments on MoNuSeg and CPM17 datasets show that CDNet is significantly better than the other methods and achieves the state-of-the-art performance. The code is available at https://github.com/honglianghe/CDNet.